It seems like every day there’s a new reason to feel guilty about the impact our daily lives have on the environment. From the food we eat to the way we get around, it often feels like everything we do is harming the planet in some way.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are plenty of small changes we can make in our daily lives that will add up to a big difference for the environment. One such change is reducing our reliance on single-use plastics. This includes things like water bottles, shopping bags, and straws.
Many of us are already conscientious about recycling. We recycle paper, aluminum cans, and even some plastics. But what about plastic straws? Can they be recycled, or do they end up in the trash no matter what we do? The answer may surprise you! Keep reading to find out more.
The Truth About Plastic Straws
Plastic straws have become one of the biggest environmental villains of our time. And for good reason—every day, Americans use 500 million plastic straws, which equates to enough straws to fill 46,400 school buses!
Most of those straws end up in landfills or the ocean where they do serious damage to marine life. In fact, plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found during beach cleanups. They’re also one of the top items found in the stomachs of dead sea turtles.
So yes, avoiding plastic straws is important for the environment. But what about recycling them? Unfortunately, most recycling plants are not equipped to recycle plastic straws. This is because they’re made of a type of plastic called polypropylene, which is difficult to recycle.
In addition, plastic straws are often too lightweight to make it through the recycling sorting process. They often get caught up in other materials and end up as contamination in the recycling stream. As a result, many recycling plants have stopped accepting them altogether.
What Can You Do?
So what can you do if your city doesn’t recycle plastic straws? One option is to simply avoid using them. If you’re out at a restaurant, tell your server that you don’t need a straw. Or, if you’re at home and drinking from a reusable cup, ditch the straw altogether.
Another option is to look for biodegradable or compostable straws made from materials like paper or bamboo. These straws won’t end up in the landfill—or stuck in a recycling plant—and they’ll break down naturally over time.
Every Little Bit Helps!
The next time you’re out at a restaurant or café and reach for a plastic straw, take a moment to consider whether you really need it. If not, put it back and opt for a reusable or biodegradable alternative instead. Every little bit helps when it comes to protecting our planet!