Plastic-Free July Challenge #4: Decline a Plastic Straw 🥤

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Single-use plastic straw. One of the sources of plastic pollution
Single-use plastic straws. One of the sources of ocean plastic pollution

Today we ask everyone to refuse plastic straws. This plastic polluting culprit has appeared many times during our clean-ups. It is especially easy for these thin tubes of plastic to fall into our sewers, which then travel their way to the ocean and get ingested by marine life.

Littered plastic straw and drink lid
littered plastic bottle and straw


How is a plastic straw harmful if I dispose of it properly?

Disposed plastic straw and cup

We should all do our part to dispose of litter properly. Disposing a straw into the litter bin reduces the chances of it entering our sewers, but there is no guarantee. After all, we do not control what happens to litter after it gets collected; or even before the garbage truck arrives.

Any litter in an outdoor bin can be lifted away by wind or rain; or scattered around by skunks, raccoons or any hungry creature going through our garbage.

It is also common for garbage to fly off from the top, or the rear, of a garbage truck. This is the reason we often see litter along the road. And finally, after the garbage reaches our landfills, it is continually scattered by nature.

Every year more than 8 million tons of plastics are dumped into our oceans. But would humanity produce so much ocean litter on purpose? A great sum of litter, even if properly disposed, ends up into our oceans. In fact, approximately 80% of the plastic litter in our oceans comes from the land.

Litter spotted along Highway 401 - Toronto, Ontario

Paper straws are recyclable

In Canada and the United States alone, estimates suggest that close to 557 million straws are used every single day.

Plastic straws are an easy item to eliminate from our lives as they are non-essential and there are cheap alternatives available.

What can I do if I cannot control where my discarded litter goes?

Delicious citrus drinks without plastic straws!

We can reduce how much litter we produce - especially those coming from single-use plastic, and declining plastic straws is a simple place to start.

Glasses of water without plastic straws

We may not use straws at home very often. In a restaurant or at a take-out however, beverages are often served with straws even if you do not ask for one. Therefore it is important to tell your server "no straws" before you take your order. You can even do this before getting seated - to make sure your complimentary water does not come with a straw.

Metal straws by Boho and Hobo

If you need a straw, opt for a *paper straw; or better yet a reusable *metal, *glass or bamboo straw.

(*As an Amazon Associate OnePieceADay earns from qualifying purchases)

Unlike plastic, metal can be melted down, and reused over and over again, glass is recyclable, and bamboo is 100% biodegradable. Reusable straws can be found through merchants like Boho & Hobo and Ola Bamboo or in the OnePieceADay Market Place

What can I do if I have an unfinished pack of plastic straws?

A necklace threaded through a plastic straw

Plastic straws can be used for more than just sipping a beverage; they can be creative decorations, necklace organizers and more.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out these fascinating articles: