We’ve all heard of the Plastic Straw Movement. People everywhere in the United States have started boycotting using plastic straws in their drinks due to the environmental effects that occur. Plastic straws have started to be regarded as a detrimental device that can easily be replaced or not used at all. People have begun to think they are heroes, or very environmentally conscious, because of their participation in the Plastic Straw Movement. They feel as though declining to use a plastic straw in their Starbucks drink makes them a pioneer of a safer and cleaner planet. People will go out of their way to make sure others are boycotting straws as well, scolding them or trying to change their mind. Some are even converting to metal straws so they can use them indefinitely. But if you’re truly participating in the Plastic Straw Movement for environmental reasons, consider this.
The truth is that the Plastic Straw Movement is the least that we can do. Plastic straws only account for a small percentage of the waste that causes problems in both the ocean and in a general environmental sense. Plastic bags, recyclable water bottles, plastic packaging, soda cans or bottles, plastic utensils, and takeout containers are all examples of common items that are harmful to the environment. Most of you who refuse to use a straw still probably use all of these items, or many of them, every day. Sometimes, we don’t even think about the fact that our daily products might have better alternatives. Many of these items end up chucked on the side of the road, floating in the ocean, or sitting in a landfill.
Although takeout and soda containers can be unavoidable in everyday use, most of the debris listed above can be easily switched out for more environmentally friendly options. Instead of choosing a plastic water bottle at school, concerts, or stores, buy a reusable water bottle. You can bring these with you anywhere you go, and it’ll even help you to hydrate more regularly. Swap out plastic shopping bags for a reusable shopping bag and produce bags. Use fabric snack bags or tupperware to hold your snacks rather than plastic bags. Trade your paper bag lunch for a reusable lunch box and your plastic utensils for metal ones. Start a compost pile at your house. As tacky as it sounds, use a metal straw. If you are unable to use these alternatives, make sure you are recycling. Some people fall into habits of tossing recyclable items into the trash without really giving it a second thought. Try to keep it in your mind to recycle whenever you are given the chance. All of these things are simple switches that, if taken up by the amount of people who participate in the Plastic Straw Movement, could make major environmental improvements. They don’t have to be high tech, or fancy, or expensive. The only requirement these products should fill is that they are reusable and eco-friendly.
If you support the Plastic Straw Movement for trendy reasons, you might not consider making these changes. However, if the straw movement has actually stirred your concern for the earth, maybe it is time for you to advocate for more than just reduced plastic straw usage. Hopefully, in light of the recently popular environmental movement, you will be open to the potential of increasing your environmental awareness and showing it in your daily choices.