Why You Shouldn't Stop Bringing Your Reusables Everywhere

This morning, before catching my bus from Maine to Boston, I grabbed a quick bite at a nearby diner. Before even notifying the waiter of what I wanted to eat, she plopped down a tall glass of water and a pile of plastic straws.

Normally when I eat out, I leave the straw in its paper wrapping sitting on the table, but as I wait for my food to come, I realize that regardless of whether I opened it or not, restaurant policy will throw it away, in the large and withering landfill.

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So, what is the point of risking the chance of contracting some unwanted bacteria from the possibly unwashed cups, if the straw I sacrificed will still end up in a landfill? Sometimes it can feel like this when you try to make an effort, regardless of how big or small.

While I feel like this from time to time, I remember that it’s an effort. Even though it won’t reduce the global carbon footprint or cut single-use plastic use in half, it’s a move in the right direction. We’ve already made progress as a global community in being more environmentally conscious and so long as we continue to keep this green-mindset, more people will catch on.

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Because we have only one planet, there is no need to use thousands of single-use plastics per year when they can be replaced by reusable metal straws, bottles, or fabric bags. Every year, the average American uses 300 plastic bags per year, and 156 plastic water bottles per year, and very few—if any—get recycled.

So, please don’t stop bringing your Nalgene water bottle with you everywhere. Don’t stop slipping your reusable straws and reusable bags into your purse before heading out the door. Actions catch on, so don’t stop.

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