There’s been a relatively recent trend that has seemed to sweep the internet- one that most people, if not already on board, have at least heard about - and that is metal straws. If you are not already aware of the “No Straw” campaign, it is one that simply promotes the idea of producing less waste on a daily basis by using a reusable metal straw in place of the typical plastic ones provided to you when you order a drink or enjoy a refresher at home.
Sparked by the video of a turtle getting a straw removed from its nose in 2015, Seattle became the first state to officially ban plastic straw usage last year, emphasizing the detrimental damage single-use plastic straws, cutlery, and cups have on the environment. Starbucks also became one of a handful of corporations to cut down drastically on plastic straws, vowing to eliminate them in their stores by the year 2020.
Awareness for the movement has been driven predominantly by social media, and as the trend of metal straws becomes more widespread, it leaves many wondering- how much of a difference does ditching plastic straws really make?
One of the main reasons this movement is targeting plastic straws specifically is because they can be easily done away with, and because they typically cannot be recycled (their material isn’t often resold). Additionally, metal and bamboo straws, two popular reusable options, are often composted or recycled and can easily be kept in their small, compact cases on keychains and in purses.
The campaign against plastic straws is one step towards working against the alarming amount of plastic waste washing up on shores around the globe, such as those in the Dominican Republic. On average, it is estimated that hundreds of millions of straws are disposed of on a daily basis in the United States and that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, by weight. So yes, the shift to metal straws is making a difference, and also demonstrates the potential of the people to make small changes in their lives to effectively protect the planet.