We Get Greener Kit Cassingham & her Bigger Half

Ban Plastic Straws

I've noticed a disturbing trend at restaurants. Straws. Yep, straws. The waiter either automatically drops one in my glass of water or drops wrapped straws on the table when they leave the drinks. You'd think the latter wouldn't be a big deal, figuring they'll just use them elsewhere if I don't use them. But at least in one case those straws were thrown away as if they had been opened and used.

Throwing those little plastic straws away doesn't seem like a big deal, and maybe in the big scheme of things it's not. But that fits into the can-I-get-greener game I love to play -- avoiding every little bit of waste.

The last time I got a straw with my water without ice I mentioned to My Bigger Half how frustrating that is. We slipped into our separate thoughts -- mine being about how wasteful such practices are. After a few moments I asked him if he remembered paper straws. Naturally he had just been pondering that bit of history and was about to ask me the same question (we do that a lot, "read" each others minds).

Did you know straws have been made of straw (heh, that's coincidental!), metal, and glass. The paper straw was invented in 1888, and still available. So, why don't we see it in use much, if at all?

Striped Paper Straws Striped Paper Straws
Colorful Plastic Straws
Colorful Plastic Straws


Plastic straws can be reused, though they aren't in the US. In Uganda straws are collected from the trash, cleaned, and then woven into mats and bags. That's pretty cool. But, in western society they just become a contribution to landfills, and another demand on petroleum resources. Polypropolene is in favor over polystyrene for various reasons, and can be made into a variety of styles and of various colors.

What intrigues me about this topic is that even passionately environmental people use plastic straws with seemingly no thought. I do have one friend who reuses his straw, probably too long since it gets black inside before he gets a new one. And he's not even an environmentalist!

All right, I do have a confession. On the rare occasion I treat myself to a milk shake I do use a straw, maybe even two. But now that I know I can get paper straws maybe I'll plan ahead and bring my own straw. Hmmmm.....

My new drink request is now going to be water with no ice and no straw. Ok, I found another way of being greener.

Comments

If you're really into it and good at remembering to carry your own, you can buy a stainless steel or glass reusable straw so you can have your cake and eat it too. I think this is awesome, but as I don't carry a purse to stash it in, I know I'd forget to bring it with me, so I'm in with the "no straw please" people.

Laura at December 5, 2010 4:52 PM

Laura,

Interesting idea, if it's easy to clean the inside of these straws. Ick! The idea of drinking out of a "well-used" straw almost gags me.

I don't always carry a purse, partially because it'd too easy to carry so many things around with me -- for just in case -- that my shoulder and/or back would break from the weight. Well, maybe not break, but it would pull my back out of alignment for sure.

Straws are an easy item for me to give up since I don't particularly enjoy drinking through them. Milk shakes are about all I prefer drinking that way, and I don't consume many of those in a year so I'm not wasting much plastic.

I guess I'd never heard of metal or glass straws. But I like the idea for die-hard straw users who are also environmentally concerned.

-Kit

Kit Cassingham at December 6, 2010 6:46 PM

I love the idea of using these vintage inspired paper straws again, they are much easier on the earth! I found some really pretty colors too. I love using the yellow ones
for lemonade, and the lime green in my ice tea.

Great childhood memories for me!

Jean at January 12, 2012 11:09 PM
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