Americans use an unbelievable amount of disposable straws. The number? 500 million drinking straws every day, according to the National Park Service (NPS). Many environmental groups think this amount, while quite high, many not be accurate, as it does not account for the disposable straws that are attached to juice boxes and milk cartons. But we can all agree: This amount is too high considering the negative environmental impacts these disposable straw are having on our planet. Over the past quarter century, plastic straws have routinely been one of the top 10 items found on beaches around the world during the International Coastal Cleanup, according to Ocean Conservancy. Ocean Conservancy volunteers have picked up so many straws from beaches and waterways that when put end-to-end, “they would span a distance equal to California’s 840 miles of coastline. And last year alone, enough disposable plastic straws were found to pop one into your beverage every day for the next 1,250 years.” From Choose to Be Straw Free:
- Most disposable plastic straws are made from polypropylene, a petroleum bi-product.
- Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans.
- Forty-four percent of all seabird species and 22 percent of cetaceans have ingested plastic.
And not only do plastic straws either end up in our landfills or waterways, the plastic itself is a problem. Plastic does not biodegrade, it photodegrades, which means it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces of toxic plastic that wreak havoc on the environment.