How and Why to Ditch Plastic Straws for Good

Plastic straws suck!

By now you have probably seen or at least heard of the heartbreaking video of a struggling sea turtle with a plastic straw lodged up its nose. Marine biologist Christine Figgener​ filmed and published her research team's removal of the 10-12 cm single-use plastic from the bleeding turtle's nostril in 2015; however, the effects of that video still live on today.

This semester in my Creativity and Comm Design class, I was blessed with the opportunity to co-create vsustainability, a group of students seeking to educate, promote and advocate sustainability on Valdosta State's campus. Our main mission was to bring awareness about the harmful effects of plastic straws and to show students eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws. Check out our instagram page here!

Before this fall, I had no idea the effect one straw could have on marine life, but after researching the topic and watching the documentary film STRAWS, I could no longer use a plastic straw with a clear conscience. In the United States alone, we use over 500 million plastic straws PER DAY. Not only is this a ridiculous number of single-use items going to waste, but straws can take decades or even centuries to decompose. 

So how do we break this cycle and ditch plastic straws for good? By using eco-friendly alternatives and spreading awareness!

During vsustainability's "Skip A Straw" event in the Student Union on November 12, 66 students pledged to skip a plastic straw with their meals and were offered a free paper straw instead. Other reusable alternatives include stainless steel straws, glass straws and bamboo straws, all of which can be found on Amazon for less than ten dollars (with straw-cleaners included)! You could also skip a straw altogether and sip your drink . 

Although "Skip A Straw" day has officially passed, every day we have the choice to reduce our consumption of this single-use plastic and thereby reduce the harmful effects caused by plastic straws. Statistics show that you and I will each use approximately 38,000 plastic straws between the ages of 5 and 65. Join me in skipping plastic straws for good and breaking this harmful cycle.