Will you pledge to #stopsucking?: A guide to eliminating single-use plastic straws

Are you an animal lover, or lover of wildlife, the outdoors, nature, and our planet? I’m sure many of you are raising your hands, and I’m right there along side of you! My husband, Adam, and I are long-time animal lovers. We’ve each, separately and together, have had many pets throughout our lives, but we also spent most of our early adulthood dedicated to caring for and advocating for animals. For several years, we volunteered at a no-kill animal shelter in Chicago, helped design their new animal shelter when they moved, and even served on their board. Furthermore, we were vegetarians for ethical reasons (and nearly vegans… but I couldn’t completely give up cheese!) for over 15 years. We really, really loved the companionship we’ve experienced with our furry friends and still feel just as passionate about all animals!

While we currently don’t have the time to volunteer as much as we did before starting our own family and caring for our three young daughters with special needs, we still feel just as passionately about advocating for animals. So when I started to hear all the media reports and campaigns for eliminating single-use plastic straws, it caught my attention, and I wanted to learn more.

That’s when I happened upon the social media challenge called #StopSucking For A Strawless Ocean. Have you heard about this on social media? Several big-name celebrities are taking part and challenging others to pledge to #StopSucking.

It definitely has caught the attention of many Americans, and I’m sure you’ve heard something by now about how bad single-use plastic straws are for our environment and marine life. According to the website called, For A Strawless Ocean,

Plastic straws are really bad for the ocean. It’s estimated that we use over 500 million every day in America, and most of those end up in our oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life. We want to encourage people to stop using plastic straws for good. If we don’t act now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

So what can we do? Since we know that single-use plastic straws can’t be recycled, are not biodegradable, and cause harm to our environment and wildlife, we need to start taking steps in the right direction to preserve the health of our planet. Every little action can have a big impact! Likewise, what if everyone thought their 1 disposable straw wouldn’t matter?

Ideas to get you started:

Tip #1: Go strawless! Do you really need a straw? For some, the answer is yes! Those individuals that have suffered a stroke, have developmental delays, Multiple Sclerosis, and other health conditions, require the use of a straw to drink and rely on the plastic straw to meet their hydration needs. Your health comes first! If you are able to consider a reusable option, see Tip #2. If you do not rely on a straw for the reasons listed here, then consider going strawless! It’s the easiest and most affordable option.

Tip #2: Consider purchasing reusable straws. There are many options on the market today, such as stainless steel straws, silicone straws, glass straws, and even bamboo straws. Our daughters are using silicone straws since stainless steel straws are not recommended for young children, but I use a stainless steel straw every day when drinking my iced coffee. See the options we use below, or check www.strawlessocean.org/alternatives for more ideas.

Tip #3: I would caution you to avoid purchasing compostable straws for the reasons listed on the FAQ section of www.eco-cycle.org.

Q: I have heard that some compostable straws are not really compostable. Is this true?

A: Unfortunately, it is true that some products which are sold as “biodegradable,” including straws, do not actually compost. Eco-Cycle strongly recommends only choosing compostable products certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute. Learn more at www.bpiworld.org

http://www.ecocycle.org/bestrawfree/faqs

Tip #4: Join the #StopSucking challenge and get your challenge code at the For A Strawless Ocean website: www.strawlessocean.org .

Who will you challenge? Will you challenge yourself?

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3 Comments

  1. March 9 / 3:35 PM

    Great post!! I work in a restaurant that has a sign at the front door about not using straws, but then part of our training is to serve each drink with a straw in it, partially unwrapped already!! How is this helping?? SO I am one of the few servers who doesn’t follow this rule!! I bring straws to the table but only give them if they ask for them. But still, at least 75% of customers still use them. Little by little I have been changing my own use of plastics, and doing my part in the world too. We need people like you to help keep spreading the word!! Good job!!

    • Rebekah
      March 9 / 3:46 PM

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, Melissa! That’s so interesting and frustrating about the restaurant you work at. They are trying… I think… but hopefully you will make the difference! So excited that you are conscious of not serving straws. Way to go!

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