With cities and corporations moving towards banning single-use plastic straws, we want to delve into why we believe transitioning to using bamboo straws could be a right move for the environment, animals and marine life.
Consumption and Pollution
In the U.S., it’s estimated that the average American uses 1.6 straws per day and to put that in another perspective, that’s enough to circle the equator 2.5 times. In another study, it was estimated that approximately 8.3 billion straws pollute the world’ beaches. It’s also estimated that less than 10% of the plastic that is produced all over the world is recycled and as a result, an average of one garbage truck full of plastics enters oceans worldwide every MINUTE. Although plastic straws only make up 0.025% of the 8 million tons of plastic that enter the oceans annually, they are still a major concern and are an aspect of human lives that could easily be changed.
Detrimental Impact on Marine Life
This excessive usage of single-use plastics all over the world, not just the U.S., is having detrimental effects on marine life as they often mistake plastic items for food. It’s estimated that an astounding 90% of seabirds and sea turtle species have a trace amount of plastic in them and it’s estimated that within the next 5 years, we could see 1 pound of plastic for every 3 pounds of fish in the ocean. Although we can’t determine how much of the plastic from straws can be attributed to the traces of plastic found in marine life, we do know that plastic straws pose a significant threat to marine life as their small size makes it easier to digest. It was also found in a study that plastic straws are the 7th most collected items on beaches, so we are certain that straws are a major factor in the amount of plastic polluting our bodies are water all over the world.
Plastic straws in their manufactured forms are dangerous as they can kill or severely sicken marine life including fish, seabirds, dolphins, turtles and other animals in our bodies of water as they can get stuck in their nostrils, throats and stomachs. What is just as alarming is that as plastic straws are exposed to sunlight, hit by waves or excessive winds, or extreme temperatures, they begin to disintegrate and break into smaller pieces and become microplastics. These tiny particles of plastic can be ingested into the bodies of all living organisms in our bodies of water and eventually make their ways into the bodies of humans through the consumption of marine life that humans eat – fish, lobster, etc. It is estimated about a quarter of seafood in our grocery store and markets, and also table salt have traces of microplastics, so this is major problem for all of Earth’s inhabitants.
In addition, a lot of straws are made from a plastic called polystyrene which is the same plastic that is used to created styrofoam, and it is believed that polystyrene is like a human carcinogen. So, not only are plastic straws detrimental if ingested in their manufactured form, but as they break down and disintegrate, they become just as harmful due to the chemicals they are made up that can be absorbed into their bodies.
Path to a Better Future for Marine Life
We believe that a better future starts with humans limiting the number of plastics we use overall, not just straws. This would be a good first step. Not only stopping the number of plastics we use, but for governments and corporations around the world to start paying more attention to this worldwide problem and start looking at alternatives for every aspect of our lives where plastic is the conventional material used. With respect to straws specifically, we feel that consumers need to simply say no to the usage of plastic straws wherever they can and simply drink without one. If that’s not feasible, we recommend consumers consider an alternative such as bamboo straws. Bamboo being a sustainable member of the grass family and also being biodegradable makes a great alternative to plastic straws as we don’t need to worry about them existing for several decades once disposed of as is the case with plastic straws. In addition, bamboo is a natural material, so you don’t need to be worried about being exposed to chemicals that are considered to be human carcinogens such as polystyrene.
Overall, we hope that humans can give up using straws overall and make them a thing of the past, but in the case that humans can’t go without them, Bamboo Life feels that bamboo straws could be the right alternative and offer bamboo straws from a Canadian brand, The Future Is Bamboo, that come in a 6 pack for you to try.