On the fourth Friday in February, The Coral Keepers ask you to consider a different way on National Skip the Straw Day! For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed slurping a refreshing beverage through a cylindrical tube. If Marvin Stone (the inventor of the first paper straw in 1888) were alive today, he might be shocked to know of the five large areas of the ocean, called gyres, where plastic garbage collects. The sea’s currents create vortexes trapping plastics, and in the collection are plastic drinking straws.
Straws and other plastics cause harm to marine life in many ways. Birds, fish and other sea life consume plastics accidentally or when they mistake it for food. Plastics don’t biodegrade. They break down into smaller and finer, microscopic pieces. When plastics break down, they produce bisphenol A (BPA) which interferes with reproductive systems in marine life. It also produces styrene monomer which is a suspected carcinogen.
According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws daily! So, on National Skip the Straw Day that’s potentially 500 million fewer straws that don’t end up in landfills or the ocean.
We can give you all sorts of other statistics to convince you to Skip the Straw on National Skip the Straw Day (and on other days), but we would rather show you how.
HOW TO OBSERVE #SkipTheStrawDay
For most of us, the easiest way is to pick up the glass and tip it back like our parents taught us to do when we four or five. It may take some practice and maybe both hands. There are other fun, eco-friendly, healthy options.
- Bamboo straws are a renewable, reusable and biodegradable.
- Paper straws, while still disposable, are biodegradable and from a renewable source.
- Glass straws are coming in durable, colorful designs fit for a variety of beverages.
- Stainless steel straws are an option for those of us who like our cold drinks really cold!
Other Ways to Observe:
- Volunteer to help clean up your local beaches, parks or neighborhoods. Take note of how many straws are included in all the litter.
- Plan ahead. Do you frequent fast-food restaurants or get beverages to go? You will often receive the straw before you have the chance to say no. Be prepared when you order to request your drink without a straw.
Share your solutions and use #SkipTheStrawDay on social media.
NATIONAL SKIP THE STRAW DAY HISTORY
The Coral Keepers, students at Whitehall Middle School in Whitehall, MI, along with their advisor, Susan Tate, founded National Skip the Straw Day in 2017 to encourage Americans to give up the straw habit and help spread awareness about the damage caused by disposable plastics. See also National Drinking Straw Day.