ABOUT THE AUTHOR | AD&V® is dedicated to advanced and energy-efficient sustainable architecture & interior design that enhances people’s experience of the world and improves their lives.
THIS EARTH DAY WE’RE PUSHING TO ELIMINATE THE USE OF PLASTIC STRAWS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.
PLASTIC STRAWS IN THE ENVIRONMENT
According to the National Park Service, approximately 500 million straws are used daily in the United States. Since plastic straws are too small and lightweight to be easily recycled, they end up in landfills and in our oceans.
Unfortunately, the plastic from the straw is consumed by marine animals, putting their lives at risk. The harm of plastic straws in marine life was first infamously seen in 2015, after a viral video showed rescuers removing a straw from a sea turtle’s nose. Additionally, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection states that about 90% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have plastic in their stomachs. If something is not done to prevent this damage, experts estimate that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
CAN HARM OUR BODIES
Plastic straws not only harm our environment and ecosystem, but they can also harm our bodies. The following are some of the effects that plastic straws have on humans according to Best Health Magazine:
Gas & Bloating: Sipping from a straw introduces air into the digestive tract which can cause uncomfortable digestive symptoms like gas and bloating.
Cavities: Drinking sugar or acidic beverages through a straw can increase the likelihood of cavities because they send a concentrated stream of liquid toward a small area of the teeth, which can erode enamel and cause tooth decay.
Chemicals: Most single-use plastic straws are made from polypropylene, a type of plastic commonly made from petroleum. Chemicals from polypropylene can release compounds that could affect estrogen levels, especially when exposed to heat, acidic beverages or UV light.
CHANGING THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Single-use plastic straws have been the focus of sustainability issues across the hospitality industry. In 2018 for example, Marriott announced that it was removing plastic straws and drink stirrers from all their 6,500 worldwide hotels and resorts. They now have straws available only upon request and if guests do want straws, then a waxed paper straw is offered to them.
Since then, Marriott has kept more than 1 billion plastic straws out of landfills. The plastic straws initiative is part of a larger Marriott campaign that aims to tackle sustainable issues at a global scale in the coming years by reducing water and food waste, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing green or renewable energy efforts. Marriott’s straw-less initiative proved that if the largest hotel company in the world can get rid of plastic straws, others can too!
PLASTIC STRAW ALTERNATIVES
Since single-use plastic straws are harmful, check out 4 alternatives that you can use instead:
Bamboo: Bamboo straws can be sustainably produced and are completely free of chemicals. This natural material is biodegradable, naturally antibacterial, and one of the most sustainable resources on Earth. When it’s time to dispose of them, they compost in just a few months.
Glass: Even though glass straws can be more breakable and less portable than other types of straws, they are sturdy, washable and reusable.
Metal: Metal straws are the most popular plastic straw alternative. Since they’re made of stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium, these straws are durable and reusable. Most metal straws now come in portable cases and with their own cleaning tool.
Paper: Paper straws are compostable, biodegradable and made from renewable resources. They can last up to 3 hours in cold drinks and they breakdown easily.
For Earth Day on April 22, we encourage all of you to join our firm’s ¡Sin Sorbeto Por Favor! (NO plastic straws, please!) campaign. The educational campaign aims to inform both people and businesses about the great damage that plastic straws are causing our environment. We are carrying out this message by placing informational table tents at nearby restaurants. These table tents include a QR code that will direct clients to our website’s campaign page where they can find all the information necessary about the issue, and learn more about our campaign initiative and its importance to our planet’s wellbeing. The campaign page also includes the list of businesses affiliated with this campaign and a map showing where they are located.
Our goal is to educate and inspire the public to understand the implications of their decisions and hopefully significantly reduce the use of plastic straws and prevent further damage to our environment.
If you want to join in making a positive impact, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign our petition in order to encourage your local businesses to stop the use of plastic straws and commit to taking this important step for the future of our ecosystem.