Summertime is here, and with rising temperatures we will be sipping on iced water, iced teas, iced coffees, green smoothies, purple smoothies, milk shakes and more to stay cool and hydrated.
The downside to all of this happy sipping is that for every iced drink we consume, there is most likely a plastic straw attached. These straws are used once, then go forever into a landfill. Plastic does not biodegrade, it photo-degrades, breaking into tiny peices. That means that every piece of plastic ever made still exists in some shape or form.
Every day, we use 500 million straws - enough disposable straws to fill over 46,400 large school buses per year.
Plastic straws do more than accumulate in landfills and on beaches and waterways. Plastic straws, used repeatedly, expose us to chemicals that can leach into our beverages.
Plastics are made from polypropylene plastic, a resin made by polymerizing (stringing together) molecules of a propylene gas. The polypropylene resin is mixed with plasticizers (materials that improve flexibility), colorants, stabilizers, and fillers. These chemicals are then heated (and sometimes heated again) as they transform into drinking straws.
A published article from 2011 titled "Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved", tells us that chemicals have estrogenic activity that can lead to many adverse health effects, especially at low doses in fetal and juvenile mammals.
To protect the environment and to protect our health, do we need to give up our straws? Absolutely not. Reusable straws are popping up everywhere, made from glass, stainless steel, and even bamboo.
Durable and washable, reusable straws are the perfect alternative to single-use, throw away plastic straws. Smoothie slurper? No problem! Many resuable straws come in various diameters to accomodate any beverage, from bubble teas to milkshakes, thick smoothies or just water. Reusable straws can be classic (straight), or even resemble the "bendy" straws that we loved as kids.
Our favorite reusable straws for this summer can be washed in the dishwasher, and reused again and again.
Spend this summer sipping safely and sustainably with a resuable straw!