I will be the first to admit, I don't turn down a straw when out to eat. I request a straw with my coffee at Starbucks to try and keep my temporary fake teeth from staining. I use plastic bags when shopping. Recently though, I've been trying to be more aware of how and where I am using plastic. When you really look at how much plastic you use it can be surprising. And it's hard to ignore the impact it is having on our planet and our oceans; I'm sure everyone has seen the video of the turtle getting the straw taken out of its nose (it made me cry) or the photo of the seahorse holding the q-tip.
I recently found a note in my phone with a website, strawlessocean.org. I had jotted the site down when listening to and episode of the Salted Spirit podcast (I think it was this episode) when I was in Europe but never got around to actually looking at the site, until now. As the name suggests, their initiative is to eliminate the use of plastic straws as a way of keeping single use plastic out of the oceans. While a straw seems like such a small item, they add up and they add up quickly. The site states that 500 million straws are used each day in the States alone. That means 182.5 billion straws a year. That is insane. Strawless Ocean's mission is really simple, encourage people to go with out a straw or switch to straws that are made out of alternative materials like glass, paper, metal and bamboo. I actually remember noticing the lack of plastic straws while I was in Bali earlier this year. I actually don't think that I got a single plastic straw when I was eating at a restaurant, instead they were glass or plastic.
Lonely Whale, the organization behind Strawless Ocean, helped to launch a campaign called Strawless in Seattle. Lonely Whale worked with businesses in Seattle to transition away from plastic straws during the month of September and the results are impressive. In the one month period 2.3 millions straws were permanently removed from the city. More impressive than that, in my opinion, is that in July of 2018 Seattle will ban single use plastic straws completely. Lonely Whale is now looking to start the same campaign in other cities world wide.
I guess my point is that we can all, myself included, be more conscious. Not using a straw is something that is easy to implement, but there are other really simple things that can be done to reduce plastic.
-I should bring a bag instead of using a plastic one.
-Use a reusable water bottle. I love my hydroflask and rarely drink bottled water anymore.
-If you are on the beach, or anywhere really, pick up a couple of pieces of trash you see.
-Amazonsmile is also a great tool. Amazon will make a donation to an organization of your choice when you make a purchase. It's no additional cost, so you just shop like usual and amazon makes a donation. I currently have mine set to donate to the Surfrider Foundation. You can choose to donate to Lonely Whale by selecting Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs SEE Inc or you can choose any organization/cause you feel drawn to.
I have this stupidly overwhelming love for the ocean, the beach and the lake so I know it's up to me to help to take care of it. If each one of us does a small part it will add up to make a big difference.