The Straw Boycott

September 30, 2018

My name is Kaylen and I really care about the environment. I love hiking, kayaking, and, like most humans, I like to drink fresh water and breathe fresh air. So, when I learned that nearly 500 million straws were being used a day, I decided it was time to boycott plastic straws. Here’s why I no longer use straws and why you shouldn’t either:

First, some plastic straws contain chemicals that can be harmful to animals when ingested. Since a good amount of our plastic waste ends up in the oceans and in nature, there’s a good chance some confused animal will mistake your straw for a piece of food. According to the Washington Post, an estimated 7.5 percent of plastic waste in the oceans comes from plastic straws and stirrers. Considering by 2050 we’ll have more plastic in the oceans than fish, that’s a lot of plastic straws.

Second, straws have been proven to be harmful to humans too. Drinking through a straw introduces air into the digestive tract which can result in bloating and gas. Also, straws have been proven to lead to cavities. Drinking through a straw allows a concentrated stream of sugary liquid (if you’re drinking soda) to shoot directly at your teeth and gums. In my opinion, sipping my drink from the side of the glass is worth avoiding the risk of gas and cavities.

Third, do you really even need a straw? It’s not that difficult to drink your water out of the side of the glass. Straws weren’t even invented until 1888 – how do you think people drank their drinks the millions of years before then? Sure, you might get an ice cube in your mouth and it’s slightly more work to lift the glass to your lips, but it has been proven that the “pucker” face you make when drinking from a straw can lead to excess wrinkles around your mouth.

Fourth, if you really still want to use a straw, there are environmentally friendly, budget-friendly, reusable options available:

  • A set of 8 stainless steel straws for $7.59
  • A pack of 12 reusable and unbreakable straws for $9.99 (+ cleaning brush)
  • A pack of 12 BPA-free reusable *glitter* straws for $6.99 (+ cleaning brush)

   Some popular locations even give you discounts for bringing a reusable cup and straw. Starbucks, for example, gives you 10 cents off when you bring a reusable cup and straw (and they sell them for $3). 10 cents doesn’t seem like much, but if you’re like me and have a green tea addiction, it can add up in the long run.

Giving up straws really isn’t that difficult and can have a major impact on the environment. I haven’t used a straw in four months, which according to the statistic that says the average human uses 1.6 straws per day, means I have prevented around 51.6 straws from ending up in the ocean or in some animal’s stomach. And I plan to increase that number. If you still need convincing, here are some helpful articles that further explain the effects of plastic straws on the Earth:

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