Plastic Straws ---> The Spark of the mass sustainability movement?
Back in 2015, the video with the turtle having a plastic straw pulled out of its nose created one of the starkest reminders of humanity's impact. Since then, the "Anti-Straw Movement" has been gaining traction, with fast food chains such as MacDonald’s jumping on the bandwagon to be 'fashionable in sustainability,' i.e., by banning straws in many countries. Has it really made a difference?
Millions of straws are used daily. Are straws really the culprit of modern pollution? Or has it been made a convenient scapegoat or for the better word, the mascot of environmental friendliness? Plastic takes decades or more to decay in landfills, and but yet straws would take up just a minute quantity next to bags, containers, handles, wheels, and the dozens of items which we can't do without.
Recycling, Reusing, Reducing - the fabled '3Rs'.
Looking at a tray of Macdonald's, the straw being singled out as the culprit, and yet everything else is thrown away in the bins, could Mcdonald's do with different containers whereby food trash is thrown into a compost-ready bin, while plastics in another, and the paper trash is heaped in a bin meant for recycling? Are the cups of Mcdonalds made of 100% recyclable paper? Starbucks cups are known to have a plastic lining to improved on waterproof-ness and hence are not recyclable. Singling out just straw in the big scheme of things is good to for a start, but highly unlikely to cause any beneficial impact. Personally, the straw is a product for personal hygiene to injects liquids from a container. While bringing your own metal straw is the best option (forget bamboo and other recyclables, current versions don't stay turgid enough to have any reasonable use), a plastic straw is a little consumption habit that is good as a reminder to think of the 3Rs continually. Deciding on not taking the plastic straw and yet dumping an entire way of recyclable wastes into a trash bin ain't the way to go. Perhaps continued questioning of every decision we make might path the way to a conscious mind of true sustainability.