The straw that broke Seattle's back

The straw that broke Seattle's back

4th Jan 2018

If you have not yet sent a cyber-congratulations to Seattle, then please raise a strawless-glass in celebration. Congratulations Seattle for taking the necessary steps to ban single-use, non-compostable plastic straws. Thank you for your amazing leadership and positive influence on the generations to come.

What's all this straw talk about?

By July 2018, single-use, non-compostable straws will be outlawed from all businesses that sell food or drink in Seattle. Retailers may offer environmentally harmless options or ask their customers to go without straws. Though Seattle was the first city in the US to make the move, they certainly won’t be the last. Advocacy groups from San Diego to Miami are trying to enact these bans in their respective cities.

Grasping at straws?

Now that the bad news about straws is becoming more and more mainstream it is hard to go back to our regular consumption habits, but what are the real options? How can we fix the straw problem?

As individuals we can request no straw when we order beverages. It might take a bit to break the habit, but when you start to be mindful about the increasing amount of plastic in the oceans, you will get with the program. 500 million straws are discarded in the US everyday. At 7 ⅞ inches a piece, that is enough to circle planet earth twice, everyday. If that visual isn’t disturbing enough, consider the sad truth that the majority of those straws end up in the ocean. At this rate by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. And for what? To use a plastic straw for minutes or less and then toss it.

Business owners can take an active role in educating their patrons about the growing plastic straw problem. Some restaurant owners are even taking the initiative to put signs up and have conversations with diners.

Which straw will you choose?

There is no question that plastic straws need to be removed from our dining and to-go culture, but it is easier said than done. What are the other options?

  • Paper straws are great when the beverage drinking is brief, but they do tend to get soggy after extended exposure to liquid.
  • Compostable plastic straws will break down well and can be recycled if disposed of properly.
  • Perhaps the best option, is reusable straws made from stainless steel. They can easily be washed and reused in a bar or restaurant. They also have a compelling look. 
  • Edible straws exist and can be fun for niche consumers, but might not be the best option for mainstream drinkers.