I was feeling good about the day. I had gone the entire day without using or buying anything with plastic packaging (baby steps..). I had sourced out almost a dozen products that we regularly purchase to a package free option somewhere in the city. I actually went to 3 different places to get the things we needed just to avoid the garbage. Then, I went out for a drink with my friend, Jamie. When the server brought me my special drink, there was astraw.... A big, evil, tantalizing plastic tube that was staring at me and ruining my drink. Ok, it didn't really ruin my drink, but I did feel a little defeated from my trash free day. And before you tell me to chill out a bit (I told myself this at first), "it's just a little straw", it is the little things like this that we can pass off as insignificant, when in fact it really does add up. Did you know that each day we use 500 million straws--enough disposable straws to fill over 46,400 large school buses per year? And did you know that the average person, individually, uses 38,000 straws between the ages of 5 and 65 years old That straw isn't so little now, right? Colorado even went so far as to proclaim a Straw-Free Day.
Up until this point, I did not even think about the fact that I will just be given trash without asking for it sometimes. Since I am at the beginning of this learning process, it just never occured to me to ask for no straw. Some might also argue that since I wasn't at home and it's not actually going in my trash can that it doesn't matter that much. But I am taking full responsibility for every piece, no matter whose bin it goes into. So not only do we create trash with the things we buy ourselves, but by the outside world bringing that trash to us. Now, I know that I was the one who ordered the drink so technically I brought that straw into my own prison. However, things like credit card receipts (which print automatically), non-recyclable junk mail, and then of course gifts from loved ones are so very hard to avoid unless I write ZERO WASTE HUMAN on my forehead and send out a press release. For now, I will remember to ask for "no straw, please" when I eat out or get a drink to go. Make straw-free day EVERY day.
If you are a straw lover, there are a ton of alternatives. Here are a couple:
And remember, if you order something online, write a note to the seller asking them if they wouldn't mind avoiding any extra packaging when shipping. Zero-waste shipping is a whole other post!!