In case you weren’t aware, the United States is currently embroiled in a full-blown war with single-use plastics. And it’s undoubtedly a battle worth fighting. Experts estimate that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by weight as early as 2050, according to a report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation. While there are multiple culprits contributing to this startling statistic, disposable plastic straws are major offenders.
Research by the Plastic Pollution Coalition indicates that more than 500,000,000 plastic straws are used every single day in the U.S. alone. Although we’ve come to expect single-use plastic straws in virtually every soda, smoothie, and iced coffee we order, it’s an example of extreme waste that offers minimal convenience at a devastating environmental impact. It takes more than 200 years for the plastic to break down in our landfills (but it never biodegrades completely), and many wind up in our oceans, injuring or killing marine life.
It’s no surprise that companies like Starbucks, IKEA, and Hyatt Hotels have pledged to stop offering single-use plastic straws, with many instead opting for recyclable and environmentally friendly alternatives. There are even entire cities announcing similar bans, including Malibu, New Jersey’s Monmouth Beach, and Portland, Oregon—but many of the corporate bans won’t be implemented for months to years down the road. Luckily, you can stop your contribution to the pollution problem by using one of these nifty eco-friendly alternatives today.