Americans use 500 million of them a day without thinking about it, and now, a growing number of countries, cities, airlines, and restaurants are banning this popular item. Plastic straws—we use them to sip our cold brew coffee, they come unasked for in our cocktails and sodas, and they are killing our environment.
Plastic straws are rarely recycled, and their small and lightweight size means they easily blow out of trash barrels and landfills, eventually making their way into the water, where they can be eaten by fish and other marine animals, killing them. (Read this eye-opening post detailing a beach clean-up in Australia for further information on just how terrible plastic straws are.)
Fortunately, people are beginning to realize the detrimental effects of straws, and many are taking action. The United Kingdom announced plans to ban single-use plastics, and other destinations are following suit. Miami Beach, Seattle, and Malibu have all announced laws against plastic straws (and in many cases plastic utensils), and Alaska Airlines just became the first to eliminate them on planes.
You won’t be forced to attempt to sip your drink directly from your cup–most places will replace single-use plastic straws with more eco-friendly options like reusable metal straws or ones made from bamboo.
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