November’s Stupid Plastic Crap is the Glow Straw. It is a plastic straw that has an inner glow stick that moves up and down inside the straw as you drink. According to the advertisement, it is a great way to have fun while you are watching the glow stick. You cannot really watch the glow stick while you are sucking on the straw (wrong angle) but maybe I’m being picky just because I think this is a piece of unnecessary plastic crap.
It’s not just this fun straw that should get the Stupid Plastic Crap award, it’s all plastic straws. Generally, we just do not need them. Granted, straws are helpful for aiding people with special drinking needs, but they are absolutely not needed for the rest of us. They are a big part of the plastic debris problem. Many plastic straws end up in the gyres of the ocean and then end up in marine organisms.
How many straws do we use? It is really hard to estimate the number of straws per capita that are used in the US, but you can get an idea of the scope of waste knowing that in 2008, McDonald’s served an average of 52 million meals per day. That number is, no doubt, higher now. Each meal comes with a straw. And that is just McDonald’s and not any of the other fast food franchises. We also get straws at other types of restaurants, too.
Straws are not recycled. They can’t be reused (maybe once) because they can’t be cleaned. They melt in the dishwasher. Many sports events like football or basketball games will not serve straws with beverages because they are so hard to sweep up.
Normally the average person does not need a straw to drink a beverage. Our mouths function very well when our lips come in direct contact with a cup’s edge. We do not need a piece of plastic to transport liquid into our mouth.
A good alternative to a plastic straw is glass. I have heard many good reviews for the Dharma glass straw . It is unbreakable and comes with a thin brush for cleaning. I just ordered one for myself. I plan to keep it in my purse so that I can say, “No straw, please!”