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When you throw a plastic straw away it most likely goes straight to landfills or waste management plants. However, even when sitting in a landfill a gust of wind could take the plastic straw anywhere. It could go into a river or a sewer system either of which could lead to the ocean. Even though plastic straws only make a small amount of plastic trash in the ocean, straws can be something that most people can do without. This has made getting rid of straws the world’s recent environmental cause.
Should we get rid of plastic straws though? According to a Business Insider article, California has recently become the first state to officially ban plastic straws from sit down restaurants. Many other places, such as Seattle, Vancouver, Scotland and even most British establishments, have given up these straws too. These places believed that the size and composition of the straws was the reason they are so dangerous.
“ Yes we should get rid of plastic straws because it would help us save the planet,” freshman, Alexander Kee said.
If we don’t use plastic straws then what will we use? Metal straws have recently become popular among those staying away from plastic. According to a The Lost Straw article Metal straws are significantly more durable than plastic or paper straws. With metal straws, you don’t need to worry about then rusting or falling apart. Most believe that metal straws are our solution, however, the production of the straws can also have a strain on the environment. According to a Esquire Magazine article, you would need to use the metal straw at least 150 times to break even on the environmental cost of making the straw.
If metal straws aren’t the way to go, then how about paper straws. Some paper straws are made with wood pulp or made with Kraft paper. These materials are recyclable, compostable and unbleached. This means that they are less likely to be the source of all of our litter and posses less of a danger to wildlife. Although most paper straws are known to be festive and have cute designs, they aren’t particularly practical. Most of the time when using a paper straw they wilt and become soggy, making it hard to drink from. If you can’t comfortably drink from a paper straw then what’s the point of using it.
“I feel like the paper straws just dissolve when you use them and make it hard to drink,” freshman Kirstin Lee said.
So, if we shouldn’t use paper or metal and we can’t use plastic then what do we do? In my opinion, the answer isn’t about what we should or shouldn’t use. How about what we can do to clean up what we have already done. Throughout the years the human race hasn’t done a very good job at protecting the ocean and its time we clean it up. There aren’t only plastic straws stirring around in the ocean. It’s glass bottles and plastic bags and so much more trash. Instead of spending extra money on special straws how about donating the money to an organization that strives to clean up the ocean.
Getting rid of plastic straws is a step in the right direction, but more significantly we need to focus on the big issues impacting our environment and mending the damage that we have already done.