Saving our planet one straw at a time

If you didn’t know that it was possible for an environmentally positive change to
be, “trendy,” then you weren’t alone. But millions of proactive organizations, news
articles, and people all over the world have been talking about the most recent
movement to save the planet, straws. Specifically, plastic straws, and why we shouldn’t
be using them. Most of us by now have read a BuzzFeed article or seen something on
the news about how companies, and people, all over the world, are choosing either
reusable straws, or no straws at all. Also, we hear of cities like San Francisco, Seattle,
and Miami banning plastic straws from restaurants. But why is this such a big deal?
What is wrong with using plastic straws? Well let’s look a little deeper into the
environmentally detrimental side effects of sipping your pumpkin spice latte out of a
straw, that you end up throwing away.
First off, the plastic straws that takes two seconds to mindlessly throw in the
garbage, can take up to 2000 years to leave our environment. And yes, there are straws
that can be recycled rather than thrown away. So what is wrong with recyclable
straws? Studies shown that straws that are thrown in the recycle bin, are so small and
lightweight that when they show up on a recycling sorters sorting screen, they are
missed and usually dropped into landfills. And again, that is only on the off chance that
somebody puts their straw in the recycle bin in the first place.
For some reason, we hear all about how straws are harmful to the environment,
but not a lot about how harmful they are to a person’s body. Some studies show that
using a straw when drinking something with alcohol or sugar in it, can actually cause
overconsumption of both of those ingredients. The idea is that when you are using a
straw, it is a lot easier to drink a lot faster, and a lot more than you think you are. Plus,
the material that most plastic straws are made out of isn’t exactly “friendly”. Most
straws are made from plastic that comes from petroleum, which studies have shown
can affect estrogen levels. On top of all of this, straws can increase the risk of cavities,
cause gas, bloating, and many more side effects.
So why straws? That is the big question everybody is asking. The trending topic
tomorrow could be fossil fuels, factory farming, deforestation, you name it. But today,
it is all about straws, and why we ask? Well, there is a pretty simple answer to that one,
and that is, because it is easy. Because a lot of us, when asked, either don’t want to, or
dont have time to go pick up garbage on the side of the road, or volunteer at a shelter.
It is much easier, when you walk into your local coffee shop every morning, to add
three simple words to your order, “without a straw.”
Not to mention, this really isn’t the first time that environmentally friends
trends have occurred. It might be broadcasted to a bigger audience today because of
our ever growing population of people on the internet. But a few years ago, I
remember when my family switched from the plastic bags at the grocery store, to
bringing our own reusable bags. And years before that when the internet was
advocating for newspapers and magazines to switch to online, to save paper, and
therefore save trees. These small acts of using different bags, reading online, and
drinking your morning cold brew without a straw, are small easy fixes that people
have come to realize, we could have changed years ago. But there is no better time
than the present, especially when it comes to saving our planet and all its inhabitants.
So we wonder, what are other small changes we can make in our everyday life to save
the environment. And on top of that, we look forward to the next time we see good
people doing good things for our planet, on the trending page.

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