Week 10: Save the World, One Straw at a Time!

Week 10:

5 Lids
2 Ziplock Bag
2 Organic Sugar Bags
2 Straws
2 Mini Planting Pots
2 Tempeh Package
25LB Dog Food Bag
Coffee Bag
Tortilla Bag
Pizza Dough Bag
Produce Bag (doh!)
Bread Bag
Surface Cleaner Container
Feta Container
Mozzarella Container
Hummus Container
Grape Tomato Container
Sponge Package (why does my new sponge need plastic wrapping? It is for cleaning!)
Shipping Bag
Scissor Package (You need scissors to get in)
Deodorant Container
Pair of Old Speakers
Expired Triple A Card
Rubber Band
Miscellaneous Bits & Pieces

Buh, not a week to brag about, nor one to condemn.  It was a week of ups and downs.  As a high point I sewed a few more produce bags and I made my own deodorant when mine ran out (equal parts of coconut oil, corn starch, and baking soda! Add a couple drops of an essential oil of your liking for a pleasant scent.  So easy, and it works!).  The low point was seeing the unanticipated straws in our sangrias when we went out to eat.

Which leads me to tonight’s point: straws.  They are so sneaky! In fact, at first, we didn’t even notice we had acquired them!  It wasn’t until my second sip that I realized that the straws would be coming home with us.   Gah! (This later  led to an awkward moment with our waitress as I urgently asked her for my straw back as she kindly cleared the table).

Why do I want to avoid straws?  Well, they fall into the catagory of single use disposables.  That straw, after you use it, is not going anywhere.  Straws are typically made of #2 or #5 plastic.  Both of these plastics are technically recyclable, but since the straws are not labeled as to what kind of plastic they are, they are rarely recycled.

But this is not a labeling problem… it is a production problem.   Americans use an estimated 500 million disposable plastic straws every day.  In 2011, participants of the International Coastal Cleanup picked up 468,161 straws off of worldwide beaches in one day!  That one straw you have in your iced coffee every morning adds up to a big waste problem.  The use of billions of straws every year is sure to make the petroleum companies happy, but what does it mean for our landfills, and our groundwater and our oceans?  With the increasing number of scientific reports suggesting that plastics leak toxic chemicals into our bodies why would we want to put these things into our mouths?!

What can we do about this?!

1) First, ask for no straw!  Many beverages don’t need them! By asking your waiter/waitress/bartender to leave off the straw you can dramatically reduce the number of straws you use per year and inspire others to ask why they use so many disposable items.

2) BYOS:  Buy your own straw!  Being straw conscious does not mean you need to go straw free.  Here are a couple websites to help you find one.

Glass Dharma’s glass drinking straws.  Read a review of these bad boys here.

Reuseit.com sells packs of stainless steel straws

I have seen paper straws sold at Whole Foods or you can buy them online here.

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