Why Plastic Straws are Being Banned

The small size of straws makes it easy to forget about recycling.

You may have observed all the news articles about plastic straws lately. The small, apparently harmless utensil that goes practically unnoticed in your everyday life has made it onto a most-wanted list.

As of July 1, 2018, Seattle is the 1st American city to ban the use of plastic straws for vendors in the city, as well as plastic utensils and stir sticks.

Starbucks is one of the first globally-recognized brands to state it will be moving away from plastic straws. Besides changing to compostable straws, it will be offering a new strawless drink lid design on its regular cold-drink cups.

These large corporations and big cities are taking action to bring attention to the problem and begin a conversation about how harmful plastic is to the earth.

Moving away from plastic straws is good for the environment, but it may pose some challenges for business owners. Read on to find out why straws are being banned.

Why straws?

Based on the media attention plastic straws are getting, it may be shocking to learn they are not the principal type of plastic waste. That record goes to containers and food wrappers which account for over 30% percent of all plastic pollution. They are trailed by container caps and plastic bottles which are at over 15% percent, plastic bags at 11%, and lastly plastic straws and stirrers at 8%.

So why are straws a big target? The issue is its size. They are inconspicuous and small. So much so that folks often overlook they are plastic and don’t recycle them.

Straws that do get recycled frequently don’t make it through the mechanical recycling sorter since they are so lightweight and small. So, they get disposed of as garbage.

Knowing that most straws, recycled or not, will probably end up in our oceans, and knowing the number of straws being used every day, cutting back on the use or not using them at all, can make a big difference.


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