(image credit: http://www.rgbstock.com/user/SeeVee)
According to an article on 1 million women, over 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year, and with a recent surge in awareness around our single-use straw problem, we though we’d take a look at this plastic offender a little closer.
The main problem with single-use items like straws is that their usage lifespan is so short- you literally throw it away after one use and it can’t really be reused to often due to the ingredients in the plastic causing it to degrade over time.
The problems don’t stop there either! Once thrown out, these plastic straws pose a huge danger for our marine life. It’s hard to watch, but I’m sure some of you have seen the viral video of the poor marine turtle with a straw stuck in it’s nose. Unfortunately, this is happening more and more often as our oceans become choked with plastic debris. Other straws breakdown into minuscule pieces, referred to as micro-plastics, and these inevitably end up in our oceans, eaten by fish, and then passed on to us through the food chain.
The Australian program War on Waste with Craig Reucassel recently looked at our plastic straw use, and on Aussie shores, it seemed the takeaway straw was the worst offender, with a large percentage of straws coming from major food chains such as McDonalds and the infamous Black Bar Straw. He also spoke to Molly Steer; a young eco-warrior campaigning to change our relationship to single-use straws. Check her out below.
In the UK, McDonalds are moving to ditch their single-use straws for paper alternatives, and there is news that it may also happen in Australia and trials beginning in the USA, France and Norway. Transcend Packaging in Wales, and Huhtamaki in Belfast, will supply the straws for all 1,361 McDonald's restaurants. The straws will use paper from certified sustainable sources, the company said.
Many other businesses are taking up this alternative or offering biodegradable straws, but activists maintain that the best option is to not use a straw at all (or use a reusable, stainless-steel straws which can be cleaned and reused over and over again).
Some experts claim that many biodegradable straws are made of polylactic acid or PLA, and these straws can only decompose in an industrial composting facility (which many facilities don't take). In the end, biodegradable straws often end up in a landfill. Paper straws don't have this flaw, but they are less durable and more expensive than plastic options, so it doesn’t hurt to ask your local business which kind of eco-friendly straws they are offering you!
As we mentioned above, stainless steel, reusable straws are a great option for those that require or prefer straws for their drinks. These can be cleaned and sterilised and most come with a specialised cleaning tool. Here at Eco Food Wrap, we love to provide plastic alternatives any way we can and we love to encourage our followers to make these small eco-friendly changes a permanent part of their daily routines.
With this in mind, we’re offering a free stainless steel straw pack with any orders of our Eco Food Wrap Family Pack. As our family pack contains something for everything in the kitchen (and a little extra for the whole family), we think it’s a perfect pairing to keep those Plastic-Free July changes you made last month happening all year round.
Simply enter the coupon code ecostraw at checkout with any order containing a Family Pack and we’ll send it along with your order. The offer lasts for the rest of August, so be sure to get your orders in this month!