Is it time to ditch the plastic straw?

Plastic straw use is a major topic of conversation these last few months.

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Is it time to ditch the plastic straw?

Maddie Henkel, Rampage Special Contributor

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Plastic straws might be a thing of the past. Just within these pasts few months, many people have been deciding against the use of plastic straws.

Much of the debate came up after the video of a sea turtle getting a plastic straw painfully pulled out of its nose was posted by marine biologist Christine Figgener. Many of the 31 million people who have seen the video will no longer look at straws the same way.

Emilee Keller said “After watching that video I felt sick to my stomach. It shows you how something so little such as a straw can be so harmful. I won’t be using plastic straws anymore”

Many people would be surprised to hear the number of plastic straws used in one day. Americans use five hundred million plastic straws each day. To visualize, 500 million straws can fill over 125 school buses. Sophie Klein said, “I use about 7 or 8 plastic straws a week.” That’s just one person out of the 7.5 billion people in the world that could be using straws.

Reasons vary for straw use. Klein thinks, “Most people use plastic straws because they’re convenient and you don’t have to wash them.” Restaurants often hand out plastic straws without a request. Many then feel the need to use plastic straws because they are handed to them. Wanda Henkel says “It’s just a habit (to use plastic straws) to most so if they didn’t have them to offer, they just wouldn’t think to use them”

Many see the banning of plastic straws as a step towards getting rid of many plastic products. Some believe this will open people’s eyes about how harmful plastic is to the environment and may soon discontinue the use of other plastic products as well. Henkel says, “Once people see that changes can happen, they’ll be more likely to help make them happen.”

One solution some have discovered is reusable straws. Reusable straws are made of steel, bamboo, glass, or a thick plastic.

Henkel says, “My favorite reusable straw to use is steel straws, they’re easy to clean and will never break.” Restaurants may even start handing out compostable straws. The brand FinalStraw invented a collapsible steel straw that comes in a case that can go on your key chains. This way people will have a reusable straw anywhere they go.

While individuals are considering their own habits, companies are too. Many businesses are ditching plastic straws after the backlash. Starbucks says that they will be straw free by year 2020.

American Airlines announced that by November this year they’ll replace their on-board planes plastic straws with biodegradable straws. SeaWorld plans to eliminate all plastic straw and plastic bags from all 12 of their theme parks.