Join us in honoring National Skip the Straw Day

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There’s nothing quite like a refreshing drink of water. But today, we’re hoping you enjoy yours without using a straw.

A picture of plastic drinking straws, to illustrate a post about National Skip the Straw Day.

Photo by Horia Varlan

That’s because Feb. 23 is National Skip the Straw Day.

Why skip the straw? Because the majority of them are made of plastic — and plastic, because it doesn’t biodegrade, is causing a world of problems for our oceans — along with rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater, wildlife … essentially, the entire ecosystem.

We’ve written about plastic pollution numerous times — most recently back in January.  It’s a serious issue, but one most of us give little thought to. After all, plastic is a part of our everyday lives. It’s used in almost everything, including clothing, food packaging, water bottles, computer keyboards — and most straws. In fact, the National Park Service says Americans use 500 million straws every day.

“If Marvin Stone (the inventor of the first paper straw in 1888) were alive today,” states an article on the National Day Calendar website,  “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.”

The article goes on to point out that plastics don’t biodegrade — instead, 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.

Thankfully, there are alternatives — even for straws. There’s the original paper design, of course, along with bamboo, glass, stainless steel — even seaweed! 

Please join us in skipping the (plastic) straw — today, and every day.

Our water supplies will thank you.