Based in the Bay Area, the Plastic Straws Suck campaign focuses on the use of one-use plastic straws and their effect on our oceans, beaches, and overall environment. Plastic straws have been ranked in the top 10 list of items found on the beach during beach clean-ups since 1989, according to the Ocean Conservancy. These incredibly harmful plastic products can travel easily to the ocean–harming organisms, wildlife, and the general biodiversity of the beaches.
Plastic Straw Data
-500 million straws are used in the US every day
-500 million straws could fill over 127 school buses each day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year
-500 million straws per day is an average of 1.6 straws per person (in the US) per day. Based on this national average, each person in the US will use approximately 38,300 or more straws between the ages 5 and 65
-Assuming every San Francisco resident uses 1 straw each day (a conservative estimate based on the national totals) the total weight of plastic straws that could be eliminated from the waste stream is over 4,800 pounds per day
Environmental Impact of Plastic Straws*
Petroleum plastics last forever
-Plastic byproducts do not degrade naturally, but break up into infinitely smaller pieces
-Plastic straws fill ocean gyres
-Plastic straws kill marine life and other organisms
What We Are Doing
Reaching out to restaurants
-Asking them to only provide straws by request
-Asking them to use plastic straws alternatives such as: glass, paper, metal
P.S. A caution against bio-based plastics: there is a trend toward bio-based and compostable plastics–plastics made of renewable resources like wood, corn, and soybean. Although these are made in part of plant materials, they are not necessarily compostable. San Francisco’s Department of the Environment’s website provides instructions to resident and businesses regarding the disposal of these products. When not properly composted, they sit in landfills just as plastic products do. When littered and consumed by animals, these products have the same impacts as plastic.
To get involved, or if you know of a restaurant that may want to participate, contact Eva Holman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Information from One Green Planet