There is a growing consensus among mainstream society and across industries that we must quickly reduce (if not ban) our consumption of single-use plastics. Why? Because plastic pollution has become a nightmare turned into reality.
Environmental organizations and grassroots activists all over the world are spreading the news and raising awareness of this important issue which has a critical impact not only on our public health but the environment too. A video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nostril actually went viral and could be considered a main catalyst for such necessary action to ban the use of plastic straws.
In fact, the Surfriders Foundation launched a very successful Straw-less Summer campaign last year on the South Fork. It resulted in local officials passing a law that prohibits the distribution of plastic straws unless "specifically requested." This community-led initiative gained widespread support and continues on as organizers from Green Inside & Out and the Long Island Sierra Club ask restaurant owners throughout Suffolk County to pledge their commitment to a plastic straw-free environment.
Even large corporations and businesses around the globe including the Hyatt, McDonalds in the U.K. and Ireland, and Starbucks, understand this issue and plan to go plastic-straw-free by 2020.
The 2018 U.N. Environment report on single-use plastics delivers a substantial assessment regarding the cheap, ubiquitous presence of plastic as a serious threat and, specifically, one of "our planet's greatest environmental challenges."
Reducing global consumption of plastic straws is not going to, by itself, save the planet. But it is a powerful symbol of what we can achieve with just a small change in our habits. Choosing to 'skip the straw' is one of many instances where little efforts can make a big difference.
Examples of single-use plastic include:
plastic forks and knives
plastic shopping bags
plastic coffee cup lids
plastic water bottles
Styrofoam and plastic take out containers
and, of course, plastic straws