Ecocentricity Blog: Who’s Tired of Sucking?

Jul 10, 2018 11:00 AM ET
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Ecocentricity Blog: Who's tired of Sucking?

By: John A. Lanier

Today? TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY. Buckle up, because this pun is coming in hot!

Plastic straws suck. BOOM!

Yeah, I know that pun has been made before. Maybe a million times before. And I don’t care. It was just too sweet (yes, that was a follow on pun to my whole vine thing above)…(and also yes, I know, I’m the worst).

But if I’m the worst, plastic straws are the worstest. In the United States, we use 500 million plastic straws per day. PER DAY! Sorry about all the all-caps this post, but I’m fired up.

That number comes from the US National Park Service. They go on to say that these straws would fill up 125 school buses a day, or 46,400 school buses per year. That’s a lot of single-use cylinders.

In light of these staggering numbers, I decided to use this post to shed some light on the issue and to praise one particular company of which I’m generally not a big fan – Starbucks.

Why am I not a fan? I think their coffee is over-roasted. Plus, I think they’ve made coffee more about the sugar that goes with it than the coffee itself. But then again, I’m a coffee snob.

Why am I praising them? Because they have committed to eliminating use of plastic straws in their global operations by 2020. From a company that large with an almost exclusive focus on selling beverages, that’s a big deal.

Starbucks is planning to replace straws with a newly designed and fully recyclable plastic lid. Other options for replacing plastic straws include reusable metal straws and paper straws. Oh, and…you know…just drinking from the side of the cup.

An important thing that we can all do is to ask for “water, no straw” when we are at restaurants. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t built this habit yet, but I always kick myself when a waiter or waitress automatically sticks a straw in my water. I’m working on it.

o let’s stop sucking. As I’ll explain in more detail next week, our oceans will thank us for it.

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