Plastic Straws Being Removed From Restaurants, Cruise Ships and Airlines
The world is slowly becoming one without plastic straws, and one of the nation's most popular fast-food restaurant is leading the way. On June 15, the food chain announced plastic straws in its establishments are been banned in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The process begins in September in the countries' 1,3621 locations. McDonald's projects all plastic straws will be removed in the restaurants in 2019 in those two countries.
The fast-food chain also announced the company will begin replacing plastic straws in the United States and some other countries later this year. By 2025, there will not be a plastic straw in any of McDonald's 37,000 locations in over 100 countries.
McDonald's distributes about 95 million single-use straws around the world every day.
Other Companies Banning Plastic Straws
About 23 million straws are used and discarded daily in the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth is on board with the ban and has forbidden the use of plastic straws and other one-use plastic items from all of her palaces.
Cruise lines are banning plastic straws. Royal Carribean will phrase out its plastic straws by the end of 2018. Some airlines are doing the same. Alaska Airline will start in July to get rid of the straws they normally use. Major companies are doing the same for meetings in their executive boardrooms.
Plastic straws account for a significant amount of unrecycled plastic waste and contribute to ocean deterioration. People normally use a plastic straw once and discard it. This causes ocean pollution. That's why a great number of companies are getting rid of the straw they are currently using and switching to paper straws.
People might not think that a small item such as a plastic straw could cause so much damage. Maybe one straw wouldn't be as harmful, but think about how much damage millions of them will do. The straws account for a great amount of unrecycled plastic waste. Campaigns started back in 2010 for companies to begin the process of switching to paper straws.
Reasons to Get Rid of Plastic Straws
Ireland and the United Kingdom are the first to test the ban, but other countries won't be far behind for this important endeavor.
Plastic causes much harm to marine life because of the high degree of ocean pollution. Plastic items don't easily biodegrade like paper. Therefore, plastic straws along with plastic beverage stirrers and plastic bags will be banned.
It is not the usage of plastic straws that is causing a problem. It is how they are discarded. Because of littering and overfilled trash cans, plastic is making its way to the ocean. This harms marine wildlife.
In 2010, researchers proved how dangerous plastic can be to marine life when they reported what they found inside a dead gray whale stranded on a West Seattle beach. The creature had duct tape, a golf ball, surgical gloves, sweatpants, a golf ball, more than 20 plastic bags, and other plastic items left undigested in its stomach. Unless something is done about this unfortunate situation, the researchers estimate that oceans will have more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.
Number of Straws Used in the United States
It has been estimated that about 500 million straws are used in the United States every single day. That means that on an average, each person uses about 1.6 straws per capita per day. That adds up to about 175 billion straws a year.
You might say that's not true because you don't use any straws. You might not use any part of that number but think of the people who use more than that number to come up with the average.
You might not use a long plastic straw, but you might use a plastic coffee stirrer. That also adds to the ocean pollution when you discard it.
It has been determined that paper straws are better than plastic straws. Besides, people can drink beverages from cups without using any straw at all.
Paper straws will not be given automatically with a beverage order. However, they can be requested. Neither will paper straws be on counters for customers to grab one or two as they have done in the past.
Differences Between Plastic and Paper Straws
You cannot tell the difference between a plastic straw and a paper one just from the photos in this article. However, they are quite different.
Plastic straws are not biodegradable, but paper straws are. That means that it takes over 500 years for one plastic straw to fully decompose while it leaks plastic chemicals into the environment. On the other hand, the biodegradable paper straw can break down in about 180 days. Paper straws are cheaper to purchase from your local grocery store.