It doesn’t take much to start becoming a little more economically friendly. If we want to keep our planet alive and well for us and our future generations, we need to start taking better care of it. Plastic pollution is an epidemic. Did you know that all plastic that is produced never completely goes away? While plastic does degrade over time (typically hundreds to thousands of years), it only fragments into microplastics. That means the plastic is still in the air we breathe, just not visible. Making small changes in our everyday life can make a big impact and save us from further plastic pollution that we won’t be able to reverse. Using paper straws is a minor change that won’t negatively impact your daily life, but will help save the environment.
Paper straws are biodegradable.
Most plastic straws usually end up in landfills or our oceans and are not properly recycled. Since plastic takes hundreds to thousands of years to decompose, it sits in landfills or ends up harming marine life in the oceans. Paper straws are completely biodegradable and compostable. They will start breaking down within just three days. Paper straws decompose back to the earth within 2-6 weeks.
Paper straws will reduce the use of plastic straws.
We use millions of plastic straws each day. In the US alone, it is estimated that Americans use about 500 million straws each day. In the past 25 years, 6,363,213 straws and stirrers were picked up during beach cleaning events. Imagine, those are only the ones that were littered- not including those that were disposed of incorrectly into the regular trash. If those straws had been paper, they would have decomposed back into the earth. Starbucks has announced that it would eliminate the use of plastic straws in all locations by 2020 and switch to paper. In July 2018, Seattle became the largest US city to ban plastic straws. If we all made the switch from paper to plastic, especially on the commercial end, we would make a big difference in the war against plastic pollution.
Paper straws are safer for wildlife.
Each day, about 8 million pieces of plastic pollution end up in our oceans. 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million seabirds are killed by plastic pollution annually. Paper straws will not negatively affect marine life. While they would not break down as fast as they would on land, it is estimated they would break down in just six months. It would not be harmful to marine animals who end up consuming paper, either.
Paper straws are affordable.
While plastic straws are still the dominantly used product, as we are becoming more aware of the negative impact of plastic on the environment, there has been a rise in demand for paper alternatives. As more businesses continue to demand paper straws, they continue to become more affordable. When bought in bulk, they can be as little as 2 cents apiece you can shop for paper straws at eco-pliant.
Paper straws come from a renewable resource.
Wood is the most economically friendly building material. This is because wood is a completely renewable resource. Trees that are cut down to make paper straws can be replaced. Paper is recyclable which means once disposed of properly, the materials can be repurposed into new paper products. Plastic can also be recycled, but it is important to note, when not disposed of correctly, it has a harsher impact than paper.
We as a global community, continue to educate ourselves on the importance of becoming environmentally conscious each day. Minor changes go a long way. It all starts with you. Think about it. If we demand environmentally friendly options without settling for the easy alternatives, we are going to get them. Switch to paper straws today and take the first step to make a change.