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Sipping Without Straws

COMMUNITY CENTERGreen Homes & BusinessesRecycling & ReusingJul 27, 2018Guest Contributor

Author: Guest Contributor

Summer in Hampton Roads means it’s “90 degrees in the shade” and time for lazing by the pool, playing at the beach and cooling off with a refreshing beverage. Before you even think about popping that plastic straw into your ice-cold drink, just chill out and consider this:  U.S. consumers use approximately 500 million plastic straws in a single day. And guess what? They are not recyclable.

These straws were collected in only a couple of minutes along the rip rap at HRSD Boat Harbor Plant, where trash washes up from the James River.

Even when tossed in the trash, straws can still make their way into our waterways where they can do a real number on seabirds, turtles, fish, reptiles and other creatures that think they’re a tasty snack. You may have seen a video circulating on Facebook, showing biologists removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nostril. It’s painful to watch, but a bracing reminder that the single use plastics you use don’t really go “away.”

Between the waste and the potential harm, why bother with a straw at all? Americans were just fine sipping their drinks from a glass until Marvin C. Stone came along in 1888 and patented a paper straw so he could enjoy his mint juleps.

So what can thirsty folks do?

  • When your server takes your order, just say, “no straw, please.”
  • BYOS. Buy a dishwasher-safe, reusable straw to use at home and in places where sipping occurs.
  • Ask managers at food places you frequent if they will consider using straws made of plant-based materials, like paper or bamboo.
  • Just do without. Go strawless!  And enjoy your drink without all the fuss.