Save the Waves, Stop the Straws

Jaden Stahl, Editor-in-Chief

Whether it was your daily trip to Starbucks or the last drink you ordered at a restaurant, chances are you received a plastic straw. But did you think of the consequences before you threw it away?

 According to the Trash Free Seas Alliance, the average American uses 1.6 straws a day. In the US alone, that’s enough to circle the equator two and a half times, but while undeniably convenient, plastic products have the potential to be extremely harmful, even fatal, to the environment if not disposed of or recycled properly. But how?

Plastic that circulates through the disposal process often finds its way to landfills and oceans because plastic straws are too lightweight to be properly processed through the mechanical recycling sorter. So once this plastic reaches the ocean, what happens?

 Once plastics make it to the ocean, they are broken down into tiny, sand-like pieces called microplastics, which organisms easily inhale or ingest.  According to the World Wildlife Fund, “ Many marine animals mistake these and other plastic items for food. Plastic has been found in an estimated 90% of all seabirds and in all sea turtle species.” 

If plastic waste is not reduced soon, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic (by weight) in the ocean than fish. So what can we do?

Califonia became the first state to make progressive strides in 2019, by banning the use of plastic straws in restaurants. There are movements being made all around the nation to promote a strawless future. One way to help is to urge local restaurants to only provide straws upon request. There are also inexpensive reusable straws available for personal use.

To spread the message and save the turtles,  join the viral social media trend and challenge your friends by posting with the hashtag #stopsucking.