Do we really need straws?

What, we don't want our upper lip to get wet?

The straws come so quickly and naturally that I often don't get the chance to ask them to be left out of my drink.  Then there are those single-use drink packages that come with their own little straw, wrapped in plastic sheathing (I don't buy these).  It is my goal to use zero straws this year, but when the server brings water to your table with the straw already in the glass, to refuse it still means it is going into the trash.

A bill (S.B. 2285) currently being considered in Hawaii would ban the use of disposable plastic straws.  The proposed ban reads:

No individual or business shall distribute, sell, or otherwise provide a straw comprised in full or part of plastic. 

The penalty?  

Any individual or business violating subsection (a) shall be fined not less than $100, and not more than $500 for each offense. In addition to any fine imposed, an individual who violates subsection (a) shall be ordered to pick up and remove litter from a public place as follows:

(1) For the first offense, the violator shall spend four hours picking up litter or performing other types of community service; and 2) For any subsequent offense, the violator shall spend eight hours picking up litter or performing other types of community service.

I love that the penalty includes picking up trash.  Straws often are in the top ten types of trash picked up off beaches.

These straws aren't commonly recycled.  They are small, easily dropped, and there are billions used and tossed every year.  Seattle is working to become straw-free.  As the strawless ocean movement asks, "Stop sucking."  

When in Sydney, we never received a "clamshell" polystyrene foam shell for leftovers or take-away food.  Instead, we would get a reusable (but still plastic) box.  I wonder if polystyrene foam box use is banned in Sydney, NSW, or Australia.

Our choices and actions have consequences.  Be part of the solution.  Use a reusable cup.  Don't use straws.  Make sure your trash goes into a secure receptacle.  Pick up 3 or more pieces of trash every day.  Recycle all material possible.  And spread the word... your impacts are multiplied when others see you act in a sustainable way, then follow your actions.  Recycle, reuse, and reduce.

How often do you pick up a used straw?

When possible, go strawless!  Stop sucking!


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