For most of us, going plastic free can seem daunting and unachievable. But one seemingly small change at a time can lead to great things. So even though the focus on plastic straws in the media and by the big brands may seem tokenistic, we think this is a great place to start.
Let’s be honest, straws are pretty pointless.
Whilst they may seem small and insignificant, their impact is quite the opposite. In america alone, 500 million plastic straws are produced every day. Wait… the US population is only 327 million. That’s one and a half straws for every American citizen every day! They are also the 11th most common plastic items to be found on our beaches, showing us that they are not properly recycled.
We are making good progress with straws though and most companies are feeling the pressure to find an alternative - generally swapping to paper. With big companies like Starbucks, McDonalds and Wetherspoons switching to paper, other companies will be following suit. Seattle became the first US city to ban plastic straws and Scotland plans to introduce a ban by the end of 2019.
Paper is a much better option but its still single use so we would recommend a reusable alternative such as bamboo or stainless steel.
Whilst the big companies are catching on, it can still be tricky in smaller pubs and cafes. Our local indian restaurant still gives them out with most drinks and remembering to ask for no straw can be difficult for someone with a brain like a sieve! When eating somewhere new it can be a challenge to remember to ask ‘no straw please’. But every time you remember to do this you will make people think, helping businesses to consider the plastic waste they produce.
Why do we need straws at all? Dentists do recommend straws if you are drinking sugary drinks and they can make drinking much easier for children and some people with disabilities. Plus they are fun! So, if you must sip your G&T or Irn Bru through a straw, please make it our reusable stainless steel ones!