Two words: Plastic Straws. Something that if you see it, you wouldn't think that it would make that much of an impact because it's so small. And honestly, they are some of the most useless things in the world. The truth is, that many drinks that we use them for we can go without or find another way to drink those drinks.
So while at first, this small straw may not seem like a lot, when its usage is added up, plastic straws create a big problem for the environment. So while they amount to the tiny amount of ocean plastic, their size makes them one of the most insidious polluters because they entangle marine animals and are consumed by fish.The Plastic Pollution Coalition estimates that 1,800 "restaurants, organizations, institutions and schools worldwide have gotten rid of plastic straws or implemented a serve-straws-upon-request policy. Straws are just one of the many items on an expanding list of individual plastic products being banned, taxed, or boycotted in an effort to help reduce the amount of seaborn plastic trash in the ocean before it outweighs fish. Flexible straws were invented by Marvin Stone in the late 19th century. He didn't like how the traditional ryegrass straw people used for drinking would disintegrate and leave gritty residue in their drinks. In order to help fix that, Stone wrapped strips of paper around a pencil, glued them together, then tested his new invention, it worked and eventually became known as the plastic straw it is today. What does this have to do with restaurants now? Seattle has become one of the first places to have a ban on straws in restaurants. In the beginning, almost 150 restaurants participated in a new campaign called "Strawless in Seattle" which helped reduce the number of straws entering the waste system by 2.3 million. From there the campaign grew to almost 5,000 restaurants this year. If caught using a straw the restaurant could face up to a $250 fine.
Even so, there are some exceptions. For example, a bendy straw may be given to anyone that requires it medically or for dine-in/ take-out as long as they are recyclable.
So, whats the big deal, it's just a small piece of plastic and shouldn't be so harmless? It may be a small piece of plastic but that doesn't stop it from being harmless.
Here are the facts:
The USA alone uses 500 million straws every day which is enough straws to circle around the Earth 2.5 times!
Straws cannot be recycled and pose a significant threat. This is because they are made of polypropylene, a resin of plastic known by the number 5 in the resin identification code. While this is normally a highly recyclable plastic, many places are cautious about the types they accept and straws are one of those.
Plastic straws are the 11th most found in ocean trash.
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