The Naughty Straw

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How could something as little as a straw become a global problem? Well, consider this…

In the UK alone, on average, 3.5 million MacDonald’s customers buy a drink – with a straw. That means 3.5 million straws a day are discarded – just by McDonald’s customers.” That’s JUST in the UK. What about the rest of the world?

Americans use half a billion straws every day, at least according to an estimate by Be Straw Free, based on information from straw manufacturers. That many straws could wrap around the Earth 2½ times.” (Washington Post)

Where are all these straws coming from? Look around. You see them in most restaurants and coffee shops, movie theaters, theme parks and sporting events, corner stores, ice cream stores and school cafeterias. Sometimes straw dispensers let you take as many as you want.

For as many as we use, they rarely get recycled, and in many places they can’t be recycled.  Even their size can present a problem. When traveling down conveyor belts being sorted, small items like straws fall through the cracks and end up being sent straight to the landfill. Once in a landfill they, like other plastic products, simply remain, unable to biodegrade.

Straws are so light and portable that if left outside, the wind often picks them up, carrying them to far off places like rivers and oceans, where animals mistake them for food. A viral video of a poor turtle with a straw being extracted from his nose made this suddenly real, raising global awareness of the problem.

HOWEVER, a problem creates an opportunity. Here’s where the Power of One comes in. Instead of automatic, habitual action – like grabbing a straw just because – try tossing in a little awareness and a dose of determination. It’s easy to make another choice.