Northwest Horizons

One small step: Plastic straw bans help towards a better environment

Senior+Angela+Seo+poses+with+a+cup+that+has+a+single-use+plastic+straw.+Plastic+straws+have+been+banned+in+various+cities+around+the+U.S.
Senior Angela Seo poses with a cup that has a single-use plastic straw. Plastic straws have been banned in various cities around the U.S.

Senior Angela Seo poses with a cup that has a single-use plastic straw. Plastic straws have been banned in various cities around the U.S.

Senior Angela Seo poses with a cup that has a single-use plastic straw. Plastic straws have been banned in various cities around the U.S.

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Present at every restaurant, cafe and home, plastic straws are one of the most used pieces of plastic. Yet, there is not a single recycling program that accepts them due to the lightness and thinness. Not only are they non-recyclable, but they are also nonbiodegradable, which means plastic waste is collected in landfills and oceans, harming the environment.  

Straws are in the top 10 most common piece of trash collected in 2017 on global beaches. About 71 percent of seabirds and 30 percent of turtles were found with plastic in their stomachs. 500 million disposable straws are used every day in the USA, which is enough to fill 127 buses.

“Frankly, I don’t see the overall purpose of plastic straws,” senior Landon Clary said. “One, is it that hard to bring a cup up to your mouth? No, it is not. Two, it is much easier and much more resourceful to use reusable straws like my personal favorite, the stainless steel aluminum straws that make water taste better.”

However, for those who do have a condition or disability where straws are needed, reusable or compostable straws are a great alternative to plastic straws.

The movement behind reducing plastic straw use has grown after cities and states around the United States started to do something about it. California announced to be the first state to nix plastic straws from restaurant tables. In July, Seattle became the first major US city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils.

“You should use reusable straws to save the environment,” junior Shanna Kim said. “When I’m at home, I use reusable straws for ice coffee or smoothies.”

Reducing the use of plastic straws is an act that is small and simple to do. Although banning single-use plastic straws won’t fix the problem of the plethora of plastic in the landfills or in the ocean, it is a crucial first-step needed to make a bigger and more positive impact on the environment.

 

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One small step: Plastic straw bans help towards a better environment