Literally, It’s the Last Straw

At the original Pike Place Starbucks in Seattle, everything is just as I imagined--the place smells overwhelmingly of fresh roast, fall favorites are newly added to the menu, and there seems to be a never-ending hustle and bustle. But one thing is missing from the endless row of finished drinks on the counter: the signature green straw.

Fast forward two weeks, and I’m sitting at my local Starbucks in SoCal, writing this article while sipping my caramel macchiato with none other than the signature green straw. In the span of two short years, however, all 28,000 Starbucks locations nationwide will follow Seattle’s straw-ban and transition to the more environmentally friendly alternative of plastic lids. Although I’ll really miss sipping on my green straws, I have to admit, drinking from a plastic lid wasn’t so bad, and it made me feel good about my small contribution to improving the ocean’s plastic problem.

Of course, replacing plastic straws with plastic lids isn’t going to fully solve the environmental issue at hand, but it is a start. What’s important is that the act of banning straws triggers an important conversation about our environment and the small steps that corporations and consumers can take to work towards a sustainable future.

We, as college students, can also be a part of this future. Besides giving up our Starbucks straws, there are a number of ways that we can help heal mother nature.

 

1. Switch to a reusable water bottle.

It is estimated that by 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic in weight than fish. Because most plastic ends up in landfills or the ocean, it severely harms wildlife and other environmental functions. If you haven’t invested in a reusable water bottle or reusable water purifier, now is the time to make the official switch.

 

2. Support eco-consciousness.

When you’re out shopping for new clothes or even just grabbing a bite to eat, look for businesses that have the All Fair Trade seal on their products. Supporting Fair Trade businesses means that you’re also supporting rigorous environmental standards and their sustainable practices.

 

3. Cut down on shopping.

The most simple way to help the environment is to buy less stuff. Whether it be groceries, apparel, or decor, reducing the number of purchases you make also decreases your carbon footprint. Down the line, it also reduces the number of things added to our landfills.

 

I would like to end by encouraging all of you to not only be open-minded about the new Starbucks switch, but also be excited about it. Our small sacrifices may not seem revolutionary at first, but they do help the environment in one significant way or another. Mother nature works at her best for us everyday; it’s time we treat her right.