Well, this sucks. Americans use more than 1 MILLION single-use plastic straws every single day. That’s over 365,000,000 straws every year. Considering the fact that plastic straws became popular in the 1960’s, multiplied by 365 million… that’s a whole heckin’ lotta straws out there in the landfills and oceans making a mess of things. So put your drink down for just a minute and consider some options.
Bamboo is a cool alternative. It grows super fast and, if there are no pandas around to fight you for it, you’ve got bamboo for days. An added feature: bamboo straws also work well as blow guns for poison darts. This is important should you ever actually need to fight a panda.
There are straws that are now made out of hay or wheat. Feed a Farmer: buy hay straws! I saw straws made from some eco-friendly other plant base stuff — although the manufacturer wasn’t exactly detailing out what that plant base was. Maybe skip on that one just in case the unnamed plant is actually cilantro. Nobody needs a cilantro straw unless they’re drinking bleach. (Don’t drink bleach!)
You can get fancy hand-blown glass straws. They’re simply perfect for sipping the mint julip on the veranda of your swankienda. Other than most of us don’t have swankiendas, the other drawback on glass straws is that they are, in fact, glass, so maybe not the right thing if you’re prone to seizures, lock jaw, or sudden falls while drinking.
Maybe opt for a plain old paper straw. Sure, they might disintegrate a bit before you finish that root beer float, but unraveling paper straws does fall in the same category as peeling labels off beer bottles. Harmless fidgety entertainment that doesn’t kill dolphins.
And here’s a totally novel idea: just don’t use a straw. Pick up the beverage and just drink it already. Sheesh. Is it that hard? Perpetual puckering gives you nasty wrinkles around your lips that make you look like you sucked a lemon or are descended from prunes. Not a good look. Plastic straws in landfills and oceans: also not a good look.
Once you kick the plastic straw habit, we’ll talk about plastic bags. Until then, on behalf of turtles and whales and pretty much the rest of the Earth, remember that straws suck.
Special shout out to Rethink, Canada for creating the print ad for Greenpeace. Learn more about what you can do to reduce plastics in the ocean at Greenpeace.org