The Care for Creation Ministry from the Franciscan Renewal Center is tackling the consumption of single-use plastic as a primary 2018 goal. Cleaner air, land, and oceans have inspired this mission. Much of the work will involve education. For example, do you know that nearly 300 million tons of plastics are manufactured each year? Fifty percent of that is used just once and thrown away. So what to do? What about starting small? Plastic straws are one item we can easily eliminate from our lifestyles. Although using one straw does not seem as though it could ruin the environment, the sheer volume of straws used is the problem. Americans use an estimated 500 million straws a day – roughly the same weight as 1000 cars. And straws don’t biodegrade and are nearly impossible to recycle. In fact, it’s likely that every straw ever used still exists on our planet. In addition…
- Straws harm marine life,
- Straws take up to 100 years to decompose,
- Straws increase ocean toxicity,
- Straws are made of precious fossil fuels, and
- Straws disrupt eco-systems.
“Straws are a gateway plastic,” says Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale, a nonprofit committed to protecting the oceans and marine life. She doesn’t mean that a person who uses straws will be drawn to using other plastics, She means that eliminating straws is an easy first step for people to give up other types of plastics and to begin thinking about the effect of straws on the environment. No one has to give up sipping a favorite drink through a straw; there are alternatives to plastic. Reusable straws are made from bamboo, steel, glass; in addition, some water bottles have reusable straws.
So. join with C4C in this achievable goal. Do a little research and see for yourself the damage that straws do to nature. A good place to start would be 1millionwomen.com.au and news.nationalgeographic.com. And then go shopping, as we have, for an alternative that you can embrace!