Plastic straws and other single use plastics are not having a good year. Cities across the US including Seattle, New York, and even Starbucks and American Airlines have announced that they're being phased out in favor of compostable options.
On Tuesday, July 10, DC made a first jump onto this bandwagon when Councilmember Jack Evans introduced a bill. The "Sustainable Straws and Stirrers Amendment Act of 2018" would mandate that “ by January 1, 2019, no food service entity shall sell, use, or provide a straw or stirrer
with food or beverage unless the straw or stirrer is compostable.”.
So why are straws and stirrers getting such a bad wrap? How can using - or not using - one straw make a difference? According to 5Gyres.org, Americans alone use 500 million!!! straws per day. And, they can't be recycled as they're too small. Somehow, serving straws with a drink became common practice. Restaurants absorbed the cost, few customers ever contemplated the health impacts of absorbing calories through tube of plastic and our streets, waterways, beaches, and oceans became clogged with this largely unneeded single-use product that when totaled, has become a major world waste stream.
So, don't wait for legislation to come into effect before starting to avoid straws. Do it now. If you must, consider a reusable bamboo or stainless option or even go for a paper model. But, mostly, get that piece of plastic out of your body and out of your personal waste stream. And, while you're at it, rethink all those other plastic waste streams that you create...and start thinking of ways to phase them out as well. It's good for the planet, but it's also good for you!