Straws Really Do “Suck” By Amaya Prescott
Recently there has been a lot of concern about the amount of plastic we use and throw away after one use. Things like plastic straws, cutlery, and excessive packaging are used daily by most people only to be tossed out after they’ve served their purpose. Plastic can take anywhere from a few years to a thousand to breakdown depending on the specific plastic product. Plastic products also don’t decompose like things that are biodegradable, so even after the plastic breaks down, it hasn’t truly returned to the earth like food waste. The amount of plastic being used without being recycled and having nowhere to go until it breaks down, creates an excess of plastic waste. That’s assuming people even dispose of it correctly.
Most are liable to use a straw or a plastic bag, then leave it on the ground or thrown somewhere other than a bin. The buildup of non-biodegradable waste not only takes up space in landfills, it has spread to seemingly every corner of the world that has seen human contact. Information from popsci.com says that the amount of plastic dumped into the ocean per year could be anywhere form 4.8 million metric tons to 12.7 million metric tons. There are huge patches of plastic floating in our oceans, one is nearly double the size of Texas. Sea life is constantly found dead with plastic wrapped around them or inside of them. The excess of plastic waste takes a major toll on the environment and movements to fix that have introduced laws putting bans or limits on certain kinds of single use plastics.
Plastic shopping bags are being swapped out for alternatives like reusable plastics and cloth bags. One use plastic straws are being replaced with paper, metal, or even reusable plastic versions. Not everyone is happy with some of the changes that are being made. While some people simply don’t want to change the way they’ve already been living, others have legitimate reasons to oppose some of the plastic bans. Businesses that use specialty one use plastic products are having a hard time resupplying themselves with reusable alternatives to those. People who have some sort of disability that may require them to use a straw when drinking, for example, don’t benefit from the bans as much as others.
The fact that people and businesses alike would need to be accommodated does not seem to have been taken into account when these laws were made. Despite these oversights it doesn’t seem like this movement is going to stop as more people switch over to more ecofriendly alternatives of the products they have been using before. At this rate going completely green may not be a distant goal for the future, but a goal for now.