“Do you want fries with that?”
We make choices about the way we live every day. In our fast-paced culture, many of these choices are set to defaults for our convenience. Fries generally come with the burger. When we know the default isn’t our preference, we request something different, like “no mustard please (or ever. YUCK.).” As much as we want to blame others for certain aspects of our culture, we have a choice when it comes to our health and the environment.
When is the last time you were asked, “Would you like a straw with your soda?” Never. Who doesn’t need a straw with their soda? According to the National Park Service, “Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day” (NPS, 2013). Apparently, Americans REALLY need straws! Furthermore, “Americans use these disposable utensils at an average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day. Based on national averages, this equates to each person in the U.S. using about 38,000 straws between the ages of 5 and 65” (NPS, 2013). This means that YOU use a straw every day, even if you DON’T! Most straws are made of plastic, and this small, single-use utensil creates A LOT of trash.
Sadly, much of this waste ends up in our oceans and wetlands. According to National Geographic, there is currently “5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean” (2015). Guess who makes the top ten in this pile of debris? Plastic straws (OceanConservancy.org, 2015). Plastic straws also take hundreds of years to break down, but a “plastic straw is used on average for a whopping 20 minutes” (OceanConservancy.org, 2012). I cannot justify my use of straws when I see these numbers. Not only is there a huge environmental toll, but researchers have been concerned for awhile about the effects of plastic toxins on human health, via the food chain. When I look at the magnitude of one small choice I make in a day, one that affects my health and our world so greatly, I know I need to make “no straw” my preference and choice as much as I do when it comes to mustard.
Some can get along fine without one, but for those of you that still need the satisfaction of sipping cold drinks though the straw, Norwex has a great option! Meet the Stainless Steel Drinking Straws:These straws are durable and can be reused countless times. They are even bent for you (you know you love that!). I think what I love the most about these straws is the Straw Cleaning Brush that is created to clean them. I have purchased reusable straws before, and the reason I have turned back is because it is so difficult to get them clean. Not anymore!
The next time you are in the drive-thru, I won’t give you grief for ordering fries, but please make your preference and choice to be “no straw please.” Keep the Stainless Steel Drinking Straws in your car or go without a straw. Make today “your last straw.” By adjusting your lifestyle, you can make a positive choice. Those small choices add up too.