Plastic straws are soon to be a thing of the past, thanks to inventions like the Final Straw. As awareness of the damage caused by plastic straws grows, more and more people are demanding that they are banned in cities across the world. In America alone, we use over 500 million plastic straws per day. And where do the majority of plastic straws end up? Tossed carelessly in the trash, littered, not recycled, and ultimately, in the ocean.
When these straws (and other plastic waste) pollute our oceans, they break down into microplastics. These tiny particles of plastic are then ingested by animals, which causes health concerns or even death. But, keep in mind that it takes a long time for plastic to decompose fully; about 200 years for plastic straws. What we’re left with is bits of plastic floating around the ocean, causing injury and sickness to sea life, and eventually ending up in our seafood.
It’s easy to think that tiny plastic straw you use in your soda won’t really affect anything. But, factor in the millions of straws everyone else is using with all of the other sources of plastic, and it becomes apparent that we have a serious problem on our hands. Plus, the movement to reduce plastic waste has to start somewhere, so why not use straws as the gateway?
The Collapsible Keychain Straw
Luckily for us, the requests for reusable, plastic-free straws have been answered. Final Straw, a startup first discovered on Shark Tank, has invented a stainless steel, collapsible straw. It is reusable, dishwasher safe, and comes in a convenient keychain case that you can take with you wherever you go. The cases are made of 100% recycled plastic material, so you can rest assured that all aspects of your purchase are environmentally-friendly.
Instead of using rigid and sharp metal ends, Final Straw designed a rubber piece for the end of their straws, making it safe for children too. The stainless steel material also allows you to use the straw in cold, hot, and lukewarm beverages. They’re durable, reliable, and compatible with all plastic to-go cups.
By switching to reusable straws instead of plastic ones, the environmental potential is huge. As of right now, the amount of plastic straws we use is enough to wrap the earth 2.5 times. Each person accounts for about 1.6 straws per day, so every commitment to cut out plastic straws really does make a difference.
The universal Final Straw offers a solution for both the environment and the economy, with disposable straw costs of over $2.5 million per day.
The dangers of plastic extend far beyond the ocean and sea life. Humans are experiencing mounting health concerns from the chemicals added to plastic when it is being produced. One of the most prevalent additives is BPA, or bisphenol A. BPA has been linked to disruptions in hormones, brain health, altered immune function, and more. Alarmingly, the CDC recently discovered that BPA was discovered in the urine of 93% of people over the age of 6.
Plastic also contaminates our groundwater. In the US alone, there are over 3,000 active landfills and over 10,000 old municipal ones. As our waste sits in these landfills, plastic chemicals and other hazardous toxins begin to leak into the soil, leading to unhealthy groundwater. While the direct leakage is only about 1 square foot, the pressure can cause the contaminated water to make a new path for itself, sometimes leading to bigger bodies of water. Rivers, lakes, bays and streams then come into contact with the toxin-filled water, making clean-up and remediation much more difficult.
The public needs to switch away from disposable plastics in order to ensure a sustainable future.
Thankfully, movements to reduce or even eliminate plastic usage are on the horizon. Ekoplaza, a Dutch supermarket, became the first grocery store to introduce a completely plastic-free aisle. Saltwater Brewery rolled out its invention of plastic-free 6-pack rings. A few cities across the US decided to ban single-use plastic, including straws. All of these innovations are helping to pave the way towards a more sustainable, plastic-free future.
While improvements are being made, it takes our participation to make the movements worthwhile. Without our consciousness to avoid plastic, the planet and our health will continue to suffer. A recent poll showed that a dismal 44% of consumers feel bad about their plastic usage and worry about the environment. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that plastic bans aren’t going into effect across the world.
By the time the majority of people realize the danger that our planet is in, it might be too late. It’s important to set a good example for others by making small changes in your life to help the environment, such as using Final Straw’s products. Make sure to shop smart by buying products with minimal (if any) plastic packaging, and bring your reusable totes to carry your purchases home in. All of your environmentally-friendly changes will have a chain reaction, and the generations to come will thank you.