Are paper straws really enough to make a quantifiable difference to the environment? It can be difficult to understand the true scope of plastic straws and how they can damage both the environment and their ecology. Understanding how paper straws impact the world begins with understanding plastic straws.
Plastic Straws vs. the Environment
On an environmental level, plastic straws introduce a large volume of plastic waste into the world that is not biodegradable and that is not recycled. As we attempt to do things such as ban plastic bags, it becomes even more necessary to identify types of plastic waste that are unnecessary. Paper straws will degrade quickly after being used; they won’t sit in a landfill or end up in the water.
But plastic straws don’t just hurt the environment, they also hurt the way organisms interact with the environment — the ecology. Animals can eat plastic straws, choke on plastic straws, or get plastic straws lodged within their throat, nostrils, or organs. Plastic straws are therefore not just having a negative impact on the environment overall, but also on individual animals. These are things that can be limited by paper straws.
The Environmental Impact of Paper Straws
- The United States uses over 390 million plastic straws in a single day. Paper straws can reduce this plastic usage, replacing it with something altogether more sustainable and safe.
- Plastic straws are the 11th most found type of ocean trash. Once plastic straws get into the water, they don’t biodegrade; they’ll stay there for around 200 years. Paper straws will not do this. If everyone switches to paper straws, the amount of plastic in the ocean will be reduced.
- Over 1,100,000 animals will die every year from eating plastic. This includes both seabirds and marine animals. While this is plastic of any type, plastic straws can be dangerous due to their shape. Paper straws can save these animals.
- 7.5 million plastic straws are estimated to currently be along the shoreline in the U.S. alone. Were they paper they would quickly degrade. Shoreline plastic is some of the most dangerous, as it’s exposed to many animals.
Improving the Environment through Paper Straws
There are many drinks, such as smoothies, that need paper straws to be consumed. While many Americans have been cutting down on their straw use in general (with straws going down from 500 million to 390 million in the past few years), paper straws are an important tool when straws are required. The best paper straws are just as functional and attractive as plastic straws while not having a negative environmental impact.
Paper straws are durable and can be made out of recycled materials, to improve their sustainability and reduce their environmental impact. A paper straw is not dangerous to animals even if it does get into the ecosystem, and it will degrade quickly when thrown away or placed in a landfill.
Not all paper straws are made the same. Though paper straws have an overall positive impact on the environment and its ecology, the right type of paper straw is usually necessary to make it a pleasant experience. For more information about the advantages of paper straws — and to get a quote on your paper straw order — contact FarfromBoring hospitality.