Whether you’re going to your favorite restaurant or visiting a local coffee shop, plastic straws are a part of everyday life. They are so commonly used that they automatically come with the drink. Even though straws are used often, the amount of time they are used is so small in comparison to how long they take to break down.

Plastic straws usually are tossed in the garbage along with the finished drink. According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, 500 million plastic straws are used in American alone in one day. That’s a lot of extra pollution that we don’t know what to do with!

Although there is a great amount of plastic pollution, more people are becoming aware of plastic straw alternatives. The food and beverage industry is starting to implement the use of other options like paper or pasta straws for example. Outside of these industries, some companies create reusable straws made of recycled plastic or stainless steel. Individuals can purchase these for around $10 to $20 on average. 

If you are able, consider not using a straw (or a plastic lid, for that matter) if you don’t need one. Personal convenience shouldn’t justify hurting the planet. However, we do recognize that straws are a necessity for disabled people and should not be done away with altogether. A sustainable, practical solution is still being sought, as paper straws are not suitable for hot drinks.

The more people that can use these alternatives, the less we’ll be polluting the planet. To become a part of this movement, start by buying and carrying around a reusable straw. Every little step you take towards sustainability counts so take a stand and be a part of the change today!