It's time to stop wasting plastic straws

Until you hear the numbers, you might not think plastic straws are a big threat to our world. But Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. No wonder countries like the United Kingdom are considering banning them.

Consider that number for a moment: 500 million. That’s more than one-and-a-half straws per American every single day. Picture a school bus packed full of nothing but plastic straws. Five hundred million straws would fill up 127 school buses. And that’s just the waste from the United States. So many plastics are used for only a few seconds and then exist in landfills for years or go into the oceans where they harm wildlife. Many straws are never even used at all, dropped into restaurant drinks whether the patrons have asked for them or not.

A ban would have to be handled carefully. They’re a necessity for some people with disabilities. But at the very least we should do something to dramatically curtail their use. And we should all try to do our share. The next time you order a drink, think about whether you really need to throw another straw on the enormous pile we’re disposing of every year.

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