As I recovering Catholic, I am quite familiar with the tradition of giving up something for Lent. Swear words, chocolate and alcohol are just a few of the items I’ve renounced over the years.
This year I am giving up Plastic STRAWS.
Statistics note some 500 million plastic straws are used in the USA, one billion globally, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
How INSANE is that?
This is single use plastic at its worst.
For just a few moments of drinking assistance, we are a adding a massive amount of plastic to landfills on a daily basis. And many of these straws are finding their way into waterways and eventually the ocean.
Recently I came across this 2015 video from The Leatherback Trust of a single-use, non-biodegradable plastic straw that was embedded in the nostril of an olive sea turtle.
And as horrifying as this is to watch, what’s even more horrifying is to know that this sea animal’s distress is a direct result of our choice for a few moment’s convenience.
Clearly we can make some better choices.
Just say “NO”
It’s easy enough to drink from a cup directly.
Many restaurants, however, automatically bring straws inserted in most any drink you order: water, iced tea, soda, cocktails.
So you will need to ask. “No straw, please”.
Yes, it takes a bit of mindfulness, some getting used to. Maybe a bit of momentary discomfort.
But please realize every time you do make this request, you are planting the seeds of positive change with not only your server but everyone else at the table with you.
Case in point, I had this discussion at dinner with my eldest and his lovely lady just last night. She was a bit embarrassed to be drinking from her plastic straw as I mentioned it, I’m sure. But she is going to Las Vegas this weekend for a girlfriend’s birthday with my challenge issued ” No Plastic Straws”. I can already visualize the conversations that will ensue. Seeds planted!!
Make a Switch
For those who simply can’t bear to drink from the cup, there are nifty reusable alternatives to plastic:
One stainless steel straw when cleaned properly, will last for ages. They are rust resistant, won’t interfere with the taste of your beverage, will actually keep your beverage cooler longer (!!):
Just rinse and pop right into your dishwasher. They are non crushable, making them ideal for outdoor use and actually have an elegance to them, making them the perfect hostess gift!
Sipwell Straws come with their own cleaning brush!
But perhaps you like to have straws on hand for your kids, your friends or your kids’ friends.
Then bamboo may be your best bet. Made from organic whole bamboo stalks, they are completely unprocessed and are free of additives.
Clean them with a straw brush and they, too, can be used over and over again.
And once they’ve seen their best days, simply compost them!
The newest entry to the nonplastic straw world is the world’s first EDIBLE drinking straw! (Don’t laugh, the creators of this ingenious product have been producing edible cups, LOLIWARE, in delicious flavors since 2010.) LOLISTRAW is made from seaweed technology will biodegrade and is obviously marine degradable!
Not available until August 2018, they are currently testing flavors, you can check out the LOLISTRAW indegogo campaign here.
Tasty for humans as well as sealife!!
Become Part of the Solution
Want to Know More, maybe even, Do More?
~Book a Community Screening of Straws , the powerful, educational documentary about plastic straws and other forms of plastic pollution that are overwhelming our rivers and oceans. See how individuals, groups, and businesses around the globe are stepping up to solve this problem through education, collaboration, policy development and the use of non-plastic alternatives.
~Contact Nonprofit:Plastic Pollution Coalition whose work helps reduce plastic pollution and stop the flow of single-use plastics through education and global partnerships with individuals, organizations for info on how you can take a pledge or create a campaign!
~Download this PDF from the nonprofit Last Plastic Straw to ask your favorite eateries to serve straws only upon request. Hand out at restaurants everywhere you frequent!
~ Check out the website Life without Plastic, a one stop shop for ethically sourced, Earth Friendly alternatives to plastic products for everyday life! This is a great resource for more info on what’s happening what plastics globally.
~See what other communities such as Malibu, CA and the UK are doing to combat this environmental nightmare. Know that many communities have already eliminated plastic bags. Most conscious consumers are saying NO to plastic bottles. Don’t be afraid to take the lead. Your children and grandchildren will thank you.
Toward Hope and Healing for Us All,