ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Straws Are Bad for the Environment

Updated on February 22, 2015
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie is a library media specialist. An avid reader and life-long learner, Rosie enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise in many areas.


A Restaurant Chooses

Recently while at a restaurant, I read some startling statistics about straws and the environment. On each table, a standup table-tent card with these statistics was placed in the middle. The restaurant offered no straws and this was their explanation.

The Hazards of BPA

According to Medical News Today, BPA, or Bisphenol a is an endocrine disruptor - a substance which interferes with the production, secretion, transport, action, function and elimination of natural hormones. BPA can imitate our body's own hormones in a way that could be hazardous for health.

Also according to Medical News Today, possible health issues caused by exposure to BPA include the following. Studies linked to these findings can be found on their website.

  • Reproductive disorders
  • Male impotence
  • Heart disease (females)
  • Heart disease in adults
  • Changes in Sex hormones in men
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Problems with brain function, memory, learning
  • Quality of women's eggs
  • Reduce effectiveness of Chemotherapy
  • Increase in Breast cancer
  • Increasing Asthma rates

Startling Facts About Straws

  • According to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, straws contain BPA - a chemical which has been proven to be toxic.
  • Each day we use 500 million straws. This is enough disposable straws to fill over 46,400 large school buses per year, according to an organization called EcoCycle.
  • Wikipedia states that plastic straws aren't recyclable and end up in landfills or the ocean. They say it is estimated over 60 million straws are consumed per day around the world.

Be Straw Free Campaign

Have you ever thought about going strawless? In 2011, an environmentally-conscious 9-year-old started a campaign urging community members to do just this. A 4th grader at the time, Milo Cress thought he could make a difference, and I think he has.

His main approach is to get restaurants on board with his initiative. He asks that instead of automatically giving customers straws, which most restaurants tend to do, that they only give them to customers when requested.

Online, restaurants can download the Be Straw Free table tent for display.

Milo encourages consumers to take the pledge to go strawless, and to carry a reusable straw if a straw is desired.

Milo Cress Shares the Facts

The Texas Roadhouse Goes Strawless

The Texas Roadhouse made the decision to go strawless in May of this year, 2013. After hearing Milo present his initiative at a conference, 13 Texas Roadhouse restaurants in Grand Prairie, Texas have taken the pledge.

Xantera Parks and Resorts Goes Straw Free

Xantera Parks and Resorts, the largest national and state park concessioner in the United States, are strong proponents of sustainability and state that they want to continue to set the standard for ecologically sound resorts that complement, not harm their natural surroundings. That is why they have become part of Milo's initiative.

What Impact Has Milo Had?

In an interview with Sustainable Schools, Milo stated:

We've got individuals from 30 countries, 800 individuals. Schools in Canada and Malaysia and a school teacher in Australia who would like to start a similar program, so we're going to try to help her with that. Leunig's (a bistro in Burlington) has an offer policy, where the server will offer a straw, which is different than an ask first policy, where the customer has to ask for a straw. That's the beauty of the project! The customers don't even really notice!"

Where to Find Reusable Straws

A great website called ReUseIt, offers many ideas for reusing and products that are reusable intead of disposable. Their reusable straws are made of food-grade polypropylene (#5) or food-grade silicone. They are 100% BPA-free and toxin-free; they are also free of phthalates. They advertise that their products are a healthy alternative to chemical-laden plastic.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)