Happy Plastic Free July! I’m guessing you had no idea that July was earmarked as a plastic-free month. It’s a time to encourage people to be more aware of their plastic use, and ultimately create a cleaner world for generations to come. We have so much to celebrate this month as companies take a step towards saying no to plastic and say goodbye to the plastic straw.
**Update since publication:
Since publication, I’ve read many articles about how a plastic straw ban is impacting those with disabilities. I admit this is not something that was initially on my radar when I was congratulating the companies (see below) who are removing plastic straws from their stores.
Many with disabilities rely upon plastic straws when visiting a restaurant and a ban could make restaurants less accessible. One suggestion was an opt-in rather than a complete ban. This could be a good compromise. This would mean plastic straws would be available only for those who need them and ask rather than handing out a plastic straw with every drink. Since plastic straw pollution is one controllable symptom of a much larger plastics pollution problem, an opt-in system is a step in the right direction.**
Plastic straws are going away.
In the United States, we use 500 million straws a day. We could take those straws and wrap them around the circumference of the earth 2.5 times or use them to fill Yankee Stadium over 9 times. Saying no to plastic straws is a simple way to make a big impact on the health of the earth.
Now big companies are stepping up to the plate and saying no to the plastic straw
This week Starbucks was the latest to commit to eliminating plastic straws from its 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020. Rather than using straws, the company will continue to use the “adult sippy cup”. I’ve heard some grumblings about the shift away from plastic taking too long. Let’s remember that this is progress and sometimes progress takes time.
McDonald’s announced it would replace plastic straws with paper ones at its 1,300 restaurants in the U.K., where plastic straws and stirrers will be banned beginning next year, and in Ireland. Marriott International
Starting in September, Hyatt Hotel visitors will have to request single-use plastic straws and stirrers rather and eco-friendly alternatives will be provided where available.
Royal Caribbean said last month that its 50 cruise ships would no longer carry plastic straws starting in 2019. SeaWorld has also committed to removing plastic straws and plastic bags from their theme parks. The Swedish retailer, Ikea, is phasing single-use plastics including the plastic straw by 2020.
American Airlines the world’s largest air carrier, has joined Starbucks and Hyatt and announced that it will eliminate plastic straws and stir sticks from its flights and lounges.
A few major companies abroad such as McDonald’s and Marriott International are ahead of their U.S. counterparts when it comes to eliminating the plastic straw. McDonald’s said it would switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland by next year and Marriott has eliminated plastic straws from their U.K. hotels. They have yet to make the switch in the U.S.
This is a step in the right direction!
If you’re not ready to give up plastic straws here are a few reusable alternatives
Stainless Steel Straw Set
This Stainless Steel Variety Straw Set comes with 4 wide straws for smoothies and 4 skinny straws along with three brushes and a red storage pouch.
Glass Straw Set
I’ve been a Glass Dharma fan for many years. This 5 piece set is all you need to make the switch to reusable straws.
Short Stainless Steel Straws
If you’re looking for Short, Thin, Bent Stainless Steel Straws for Cocktail Glasses, Kids, Small Cups, or Half Pint Mason Jars here you go! These are perfect for kids and cocktails! These straws were designed to fit in a Mason jar but work well for kid-sized cups.
Do you have a favorite reusable straw?