September 29, 2017 Sue Mowrer

Strawless September – Success!

Remember the movie “Sleepless in Seattle?”  Well, September is “Strawless in Seattle” month, as the city kicks off its campaign to be one of the first major cities to ban plastic straws by 2018.

The Lonely Whale Foundation, with the help of an array of local nonprofits, is sponsoring the campaign as part of its larger Strawless Ocean effort. 

More than 100 restaurants, along with the Mariners, have agreed to drop straws throughout the month of September. CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks play, says it will eliminate plastic straws at all future events. 

Why is this a big deal?  Because we use 500 million plastic straws every day in the US. That’s enough to wrap around the world – twice!

The biggest problem is they can’t be recycled, so many of these end up in the ocean, harming sea life and polluting the water. The Lonely Whale Foundation estimates that if we don’t do something now, by 2050 plastics will outweigh the fish!

Petroleum plastics are designed to last forever. The Ocean Conservatory notes that 90% of all trash floating in the world’s oceans is plastic; it lists plastic straws in its top 10 most collected items in beach cleanups. 

Plastic photo-degrades, which means the material breaks into tiny little toxic pieces, which can be ingested by all sorts of sea creatures. That means that every piece of plastic that has been made still exists in some shape or form! In the last 25 years, over 6 million straws and sippers were removed from beaches during annual clean-up events.

So what can you do to continue the Strawless movement?

  • The Lonely Whale foundation asks people accept the challenge, post selfies and challenge friends to do the same with the hashtag #StopSucking.
  • Refuse plastic straws at restaurants, and ask for paper straws.
  • Purchase your own eco-friendly alternative glass or paper straw.

There’s momentum behind banning straws entirely. But there are alternatives – after all, straws are fun!

A company in California called SimplyStraws is making glass straws: they're reusable, durable dishwasher safe, biodegradable, and handmade in California. Plus, they’re BPA-free, hypoallergenic and non-toxic. The best part? Each glass straw comes with a Lifetime guarantee:  SimplyStraws will replace for free if damaged or broken.

Available in sizes Skinny, Classic and Wide in a variety of very pretty non-toxic colors (plus classic clear) and lengths, straight and bent. The cost runs from $8.00-$10.50 per straw and there’s even a straw cleaner brush.  

Another solution is to use paper straws, but not the flimsy ones from yesteryear. Today, there are straws made of more durable and FDA compliant, food-grade materials, sustainable paper. They’re biodegradable and compostable. Aardvark® is a company that’s been making such straws such 2007. The fun part? They offer a huge selection of paper straw designs and colors, dots, balloons, stripes, sea turtles, even straws with NFL and college football team logos. Aardvark® straws can be found at retailers that offer Made in the USA and Eco-Friendly paper straw products or you can order from their website.

Wouldn’t you feel better sipping from a straw that you know won’t end up in a landfill, the ocean or some poor sea turtle’s stomach?

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