I have a confession to make…I buy plastic straws. At least I did buy plastic straws until I recently decided never to buy them again. They have been stocking stuffers in my house for years. I like colorful ones displayed in mason jar. I like to drink out of them – it helps me get more water down. My kids pick their favorite color and stick one in their cups or cans for almost every drink, every day.
I first heard about the Straw Free movement from Andrian Grenier. You know him as the dreamy star of HBO’s series, Entourage. He was a guest on a talk show talking about a 2 mile ocean swim he did with Richard Branson all about bringing awareness to ocean health. He said on the show that 500 million straws are thrown away in the United States EVERY SINGLE DAY. Wait…hold the phone…500,000,000 single use items that are used for minutes and then head into the landfill EVERY DAY??? I couldn’t believe it.
When I heard this, I still had straws in my house. I decided to talk to my 5-year old about how the straws in our house were the last we were ever going to buy. Her reaction? “OK Mama.” The disposable straws bring so little to any of our lives that not buying them will literally have NO IMPACT on our family. Now, I do have smaller kids that sometimes need a straw to be successful drinking certain things. So, I did a search on Amazon for reusable straws and in 1.3 seconds found SO MANY cute options (like this, this and this) – many of them plastic free. This year for Christmas, my kids will find reusable straws in their stockings and I can still display them in a mason jar. Win-win.
It turns out there are a lot of people who are a part of the Straw Free movement. One organization that I found is the Plastic Pollution Coalition. They encourage people to take a no plastic straw pledge. In our house…done. But what about restaurants, my kids’ school, and the local coffee shop? One suggestion that I love is helping restaurants to shift their customer service policy and provide straws only upon request. So easy! How many times have I left a full water glass with a straw untouched on the table? Many times. I don’t love ice so I rarely drink water at restaurants.
So, this week I say goodbye to disposable straws at my house. It feels good to take an action step and this was an easy one for me to start with. It may get harder when the weather warms up but I luckily I have several months to prepare. This summer, I might just have to trade in my to-go iced lattes for growlers of cold brew and my summery cocktails for chilled chardonnay. There are certainly worse things.