For decades, people all over the world have campaigned for a cleaner, greener earth. But it’s not until several years ago that these campaigns have truly tipped the scales so much as to empower individuals to make small, albeit conducive, changes. Nowadays, even large corporations are taking green initiatives seriously.
This wouldn’t have been possible if people hadn’t banded together to put pressure on powerful businesses to help out. Regular consumers, like you and me, can make huge changes possible.
How Plastic Straws Contribute To Overall Environmental Waste
Don’t underestimate the power of small acts. One plastic straw a day for instance, can become 175 billion straws a year! That’s enough to cover small lakes and rivers, choke large and small marine animals, or end up in our oceans for decades.
Recycling helps. However, not all trash that’s disposed everyday is recycled. According to a 2016 study by the World Economic Forum, only 14 percent of plastic packaging is collected for recycling. This means the rest are still in landfills, or escape from collection systems into our surroundings.
And it’s not just animals that suffer from plastic pollution. Scientists have found that microplastics have ended up in the food we eat. This isn’t just from eating seafood that has been ingesting plastic waste from the ocean.
When there’s too much plastic in our home, they can eventually end up in our dinner plates over time as they disintegrate. In fact, these can be more hazardous than eating mussels. While the latter is responsible for only 100 microplastics in the human body a year, microplastics from home furniture and similar items can contribute 68,415 per year.
Why Using Bamboo Straws Is a Great Start
No need to replace ALL your plastic household furnishings overnight! Small, continuous and sustainable actions are better for long-term effects. Begin with something you know you can stick to – such as opting for bamboo straws for everyday use.
Unlike other materials like metal, bamboo is organic and 100 percent safe. It doesn’t contain BPA or other harmful chemicals that ultimately harm your body. Plus, bamboo has natural antibacterial properties. Use it for hot or cold beverages; it does the job well nonetheless.
Its production also doesn’t require mining or large spaces. In fact, you can probably find a small local shop in your area that manufactures their own bamboo straws! This means it can be a sustainable business concept for farmers, craftsmen, or similar individuals.
Switching to just ONE bamboo straw can help eliminate 3,650 plastic straws in landfills over a period of 10 years. Imagine the impact you’ll be making!
Practical Do’s and Don’ts of Bamboo Straws
Feel like you’re ready to try bamboo straws? Before you make your first purchase, do your homework. This means researching about:
The Manufacturer and/or Company That Sells Them
Make sure that you’re buying from companies that truly support green initiatives, and are not just there to ride on the bandwagon.
Check out customer reviews, read a bit about the company, which place they’re operating in, and where they get their raw materials from. Ask questions; don’t just focus on price or shipping fees.
Are they for fair wage? Can they guarantee quality? Are they in partnership with small local businesses? You can usually find this information on their website, as well as on Amazon, Quora, or Consumer Reports.
Brands like Bali Boo (based in Bali and began in 2015), Ethical Shop (owned and managed by New Internationalist Publications Ltd.), and The Bamboo Project (based in South Africa) are good brands to start with as all three are: eco-friendly, aim for sustainability, and partner up with local businesses for their materials, labor, marketing, etc.
How To Take Care of Your Bamboo Straws
The point of owning bamboo straws is to put a stop to single-use products. So if you end up throwing your straw a few days or weeks into using it, then that defeats the purpose.
Taking care of your bamboo straws is a must so you can totally take that step into greener habits. Once you’ve settled on a brand for purchase, be familiar with its care instructions.
Is it safe for the dishwasher, or should you only be washing it by hand? Does it come with a brush and/or pouch? Is it the right size and length for you (some folks have been known to throw away their straws because it was shorter than expected!)? Think about the many instances that you’d be using them for.
If they come in a pack of 2 – or 12 – then all the better! Now you can give them as gifts to friends and family. This means they too, can be one step closer to cleaner, greener living.
Remember: you don’t need to be a clean and green advocate to make a difference. Start small. Segregate trash accordingly, avoid littering, bring your own mug or drinking bottle – and yes – use sustainable products such as bamboo straws.
Things won’t change unless everyone pitches in. Great things began as small acts, once upon a time, too. What do you say: ready to contribute to a cleaner, greener earth one sip at a time?