When I was in India recently, I used so many straws to drink coconut w to the world’s plastic garbage problem in my face. It also reminded me of a short article I wrote recently for one of our GreenFriends Newsletters. I am going to reprint that article here both to give you information and to remind myself of the importance of changing my behavior.
Straws as Litter
Our last three newsletters have had one or more articles addressing the problem of plastic waste. (To see those previous GreenFriends newsletters …August, September and October 2014…. look here.) This current article will report on one specific type of litter- plastic straws.
A U.S. National Park Service report said it is estimated that Americans use 500 million straws a day. That averages 1.6 straws per person per day or 38,000 straws per person between the ages of 5 and 55 years.
648,015 volunteers participated in this year’s Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup day. They covered 12,914 miles of coast and picked up 12,329,322 pounds of trash. Straws were, and always are, in the top ten items. In 2014, they came in #5.
Straws can damage recycling machines so they usually end up in landfills, the ocean garbage patches or in the stomachs of seabirds, marine mammals or other birds and animals.
In 2011, at 9 years of age, Milo Cress recognized the problem straws caused the environment and started his Be Straw Free campaign. He has taken his message to national and international audiences. Here is a message from Milo:
To learn more go to: http://ecocycle.org/bestrawfree.
Consider making a decision to go straw-less or to substitute plastic straws with reusable ones.
The Ocean Conservancy asks us to take the following pledge:
The Last Straw Challenge
I pledge to skip the straw!
When eating out…
I pledge to ask my waiter or waitress to skip the straw! By taking part in the Last Straw Challenge, I can help prevent plastic straws from entering the ocean and our landfills.
[City, State ZIP]
To accept the Ocean Conservancy’s Last Straw Challenge click here.