One concern that has crossed our minds time and again is the amount of plastic and other waste that is inevitably generated whenever we go out to eat. While opting to ‘dine in’ instead of taking out our food ‘to go’ saves a great deal in terms of plastic bags, paper cartons and other packaging, there are still other ways that plastic is unnecessarily used in restaurants, cafes, and other establishments. One example is the use of plastic straws, to the point that these plastic tubes seem like de rigeur garnishing to one’s iced tea and fruit juice.
It was estimated by National Geographic that 500 million straws are used each day in America alone. Although plastic straws are only a small portion of the plastic debris generated each day around the world, they pose their own form of danger especially to marine life. Oftentimes plastic straws are not recycled and thus end up recklessly discarded in places such as our waterways. When plastic straws make their way to the ocean, they can end up being ingested by turtles, fish, and even birds who mistake these for food. Plastic straws can also entangle animals, making them suffer painful injuries or even maiming them for life. Since plastic straws do not decompose easily, they can stay in our oceans indefinitely.
This is why we at Team Glasses practice what we have nicknamed “Strawless Saturday”, which is basically not using plastic straws when we dine out. Sometimes it is just as simple as asking the wait staff to refrain from giving us straws in our drinks. Of course, this practice isn’t limited only to weekends; even on our weekday or after school jaunts we eschew straws too.
At first it was not easy to start our Strawless Saturdays. Reaching for a straw had become part of our muscle memory, and it took a little reminding for us to learn to do otherwise. However, we soon got used to sipping our drinks the old-fashioned way, setting the straws aside altogether.
Nevertheless, we know that there are some people who, for health or hygiene reasons, insist on using straws in their drinks. Thankfully, alternatives to plastic straws are now becoming hip and available, such as metal straws. These durable and reusable straws are safe for culinary use, and are as easy to carry around as personal cutlery. Some restaurants we’ve visited such as Bucky’s and Wild Poppy are also regularly using metal straws for their beverages and desserts.
Metal straws can be ordered online from stores such as Sip PH, or services such as Lazada. This little step can go a long way in keeping our oceans safe, not only for humans but for all creatures that live in it!
Featured image taken from: https://commons.wikimedia.org