How to Give Up Plastic Straws
Giving up plastic straws can seem like a small change, but it’s an important step towards reducing plastic waste and protecting the environment. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to give up plastic straws for good.
Why Give Up Plastic Straws
Plastic straws may seem harmless, but they can have a big impact. Here’s why giving them up is worthwhile:
- Plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found during beach cleanups. They can end up in the ocean, where marine animals mistake them for food. Sea turtles and seabirds are especially at risk.
- Even “biodegradable” plastic straws don’t break down well in the ocean and can still harm marine life.
- By declining straws in restaurants and avoiding them in general, I can help reduce plastic pollution.
Small Sacrifice, Big Difference
- 500 million straws are used every day in the United States alone. That’s 175 billion straws per year.
- By just saying “no thanks” to a straw, I’m eliminating a single-use plastic item that will likely end up in the trash.
- This small change multiplied by millions of people can have a real impact.
How to Start Using Less Plastic Straws
Giving up plastic straws may take some getting used to, but with a little preparation it’s easy. Here are some tips:
1. Request No Straw When Dining Out
- When a server offers me a straw, I politely decline by saying, “No straw for me, please.”
- I can also request no straw when ordering. Simply say, “I won’t be needing a straw, thanks.”
- Some restaurants now ask if you want a straw rather than just providing them. In those cases, it’s even easier to say no.
2. Carry a Reusable Straw
- For times when I really want a straw, I bring my own reusable one made of glass, metal, or bamboo.
- Collapsible and telescoping options are easy to pack in a purse or bag.
- Having my own eco-friendly straw means I don’t have to use plastic when out and about.
3. Use Alternatives When Possible
- Instead of a straw, I can drink straight from a glass or cup when dining out.
- If a straw is absolutely necessary, I request a paper straw rather than plastic.
- At home, I use glass straws or avoid straws altogether.
4. Spread the Word
- When out with friends or family, I encourage them to decline straws too.
- Leading by example helps my anti-plastic straw stance catch on.
- I talk to restaurant managers about switching from plastic to paper straws upon request. More places are getting on board.
Making the No Straw Habit Stick
At first, passing on plastic straws takes some conscious effort. Here are some tips to help the habit stick:
- I tell servers and bartenders up front I don’t need a straw so they don’t automatically provide one.
- Keeping reusable straws in my bag, car, and home makes it easy to have one on hand.
- Getting friends and family on board provides support and reinforcement.
- After refusing straws a few times, it becomes second nature. Doing it for the environment keeps me motivated.
- The more restaurants I encourage to offer paper straws, the easier it becomes to get no plastic straw.
Giving up plastic straws is one small way I can have a big impact. By following these tips, soon I’ll hardly miss using plastic straws at all – and the oceans will thank me for it.