Are Plastic Straws ruining the Earth?


Colorful straws that are ruining our environment.

Bella Castro, Staff Writer

The use of plastic straws in the US is overwhelming. Anywhere from 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws end up in the Pacific and Atlantic ocean. Plastic straws make up 4 percent of the plastic trash.

I believe that straws on our campus are also contributing to this worldwide issue. The straws that are given out in restaurants and even schools are not biodegradable or recyclable which causes them being thrown away in the compost instead of being recycled. I think that schools should ban plastic straws and use biodegradable ones. These straws should not go into the compost because plastic cannot be broken down.

There are a lot of ways that can solve this issue. One way is using plastic alternatives like bamboo straws. Bamboo straws are reusable and they are eco-friendly. They have no dangerous chemicals like plastic does since bamboo is natural. Glass straws are also a good alternative. They are not as natural as bamboo but they are also reusable. Biodegradable straws are probably cheaper for restaurants to get and they feel the same as plastic straws, but can be broken down when composted.

Some restaurants are starting to use biodegradable straws. Starbucks is starting to use strawless lids for certain cold drinks to help prevent the plastic waste. I believe boba shops can benefit from using bamboo or biodegradable straws. Companies can make these straws in different sizes to suit people’s needs. Most restaurants by the ocean strictly use biodegradable straws or they do not provide one. It is more important for restaurants close to the ocean to not be using plastic because it is very easy for the waste to get into the ocean and harm sea animals.

There should be fewer straws around campuses as well. Schools can also help by educating students on the effects and what plastic does to the environment. Teachers can get involved to support this cause too. Teachers can reward students they see using biodegradable straws or using reusable bottles. If teachers reward students, then it would influence them to stop using plastic, because if teachers were to punish students for not using biodegradable straws or reusable bottles, then chances are the students would not actually care. I think if schools concentrated on this subject more, it would not be a such a big issue.

Students at home can influence their parents to not use plastic bottles or straws. At home, you can use glass cups with glass straws that are reusable. During sports, you can use reusable water bottles such as Hydro Flasks, or any other sports bottles. We all as humans have a responsibility to take care of the environment we live in.

Little by little, the environment can be so much healthier starting with plastic straws. US schools can be a start to use paper or biodegradable straws to help the community and the overall environment.