The Plastic Straw Ban, and Other Ways You Can Help the Planet Right Now
What memories have you made this summer? What will forever remind you of the summer of 2018? Well, for many of us, this summer will mark the season of the plastic straw ban, for this is the summer that society decided to bid farewell to the unnecessary use of these plastic drinking utensils. Well, not entirely. But many major cities and big companies have joined the movement to eliminate the use of plastic straws, instead replacing them with biodegradable, paper options. Or, if you’re Starbucks, creating a new lid to enjoy your iced latte from. And guess what… life is still moving along fantastically. We are smart Earthlings. We can adapt very easily, and should adapt easily and willingly when it determines the health and future of the planet we all call home.
Major U.S. cities like Santa Barbara, Portland, Ore.,San Francisco, New York City and Miami Beach have all proposed to ban plastic straws or have already set the ban in place. “Okay, but why should I care?” Well, studies have shown that plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found in beach litter, and plastic straws are found in the stomachs of more than half the world’s population of sea turtles and more than 90% of seabirds. This is why we can’t have nice things — straws and other types of non-biodegradable trash aren’t ending up where they belong — in the recycling bin! They’re littering beautiful beaches and finding their way into our oceans. Not only is that sad, but it’s detrimental. It affects each and every one of us.
However, companies like Disney, Alaska Airlines, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Seaworld, American Airlines, Starbucks, Barclay Center in Brooklyn and Hyatt have all made the decision to ban the use of plastic straws. And quite frankly, there’s been very minimal backlash from consumers. The stories and the support spread rapidly across social media, and many think the attention and support came after a 2015 YouTube video showed a bloodied straw being pulled from a sea turtle’s nostrils. It was graphic. It was hard to watch. But it elicited action in a widespread manner that’s making a big difference.
As a company who supports environmental efforts to clean up oceans, protect marine life and save the dying coral reefs, we get it. We are behind it. We support this movement in every which way possible, and we would love to see this type of widespread enthusiasm and support in other areas that can make our planet an even better place — for both us and the animals we share it with. But many efforts that can have the same positive impact on our environment simply haven’t been met with the zest it takes to influence change and action. So while you’re using your biodegradable paper straws don’t forget these small things that can help out in a big way, too!
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store! If you have a hard time remembering them each time you head to the grocery store, keep a couple in your car.
- Use mineral, biodegradable sunscreen whenever you need SPF protection. It’s harmless to the oceans and the coral reefs. If you see your friend slathering on chemical sunscreen, make them aware of the dangers!
- Buy a reusable, BPA-free water bottle that you love and never buy bottled water again!
- In the same vein, reuse your own coffee mug. Some coffee shops, Starbucks included, have been known to give discounts to those who bring in their own mug.
- Ditch the plastic produce bags. You don’t need them. (Unless you’re shopping at Trader Joe’s — they debuted eco-friendly, compostable produce bags this year!)
- While you ditch the plastic produce bags, also be mindful of choosing “naked” fruits and veggies rather than those prepackaged and wrapped in plastic, like loose tomatoes and bell peppers.
- Make shopping lists on your smartphone. I know what you’re thinking… if you’re a traditional list-maker, it might be an adjustment, but it’s an easy one to stick to. Give it a try!
- Carpool with that coworker than lives close to you. Invest in a bike. Take public transportation. Just drive less!
- Set aside errand-running time and knock them all out at once, rather than throughout the week. You’ll save time and won’t be driving around as much.
- Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products like laundry and dish detergent. Look for ingredients that are clean and biodegradable — trust us you aren’t compromising clean.
- Tell the nice lady or gentleman on the other end of your takeout call that you don’t need the plastic cutlery or additional napkins if you’re picking it up to bring home anyway. Use forks and napkins at home!
These are just 11 of some easy, unique and surprisingly impactful changes you can make right away to make the planet a little nicer, a little cleaner and little happier. Imagine if all of us read this blog and implemented those ten changes immediately. Major change can happen. Start now!
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