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The Impact of Reusable and Biodegradable Straws

The Impact of Reusable and Biodegradable Straws

According to research performed by the Be Straw Free campaign, Americans alone use 500 million plastic drinking straws every day. That is enough plastic straws to fill over 125 school buses with straws every single day, and adds up to 46,400 school buses every year. In an attempt to cut down on hard waste, many people have started using biodegradable or reusable straws, but are they really better for the environment? Take a look and learn about some alternatives to the plastic straw.

Reusable Straws

A study on the production of plastic straws shows that the energy used to produce a single metal straw is equivalent to the energy used to produce 90 plastic straws. When looking at carbon emissions, the production of a single metal straw is equivalent to the production of 150 plastic straws. While these figures may make it seem as though metal straws are not any better for the environment, it is also important to look at the life of the product.

On average, the disposal rate for plastic straws is 100% in a five year time frame. Comparatively, the disposal rate for metal straws in a five year time period is only 3%. This means if 5 million metal straws were produced in a year, only 150,000 of them will be disposed of after five years, and if 5 million plastic straws were produced in a year, 5 million would be disposed of before likely before that year is over. This means that metal straws contribute to less hard waste ending up in landfills. But, in order to actually make the metal straw have a positive environmental impact, you have to use it at least 150 times.

Compostable Straws

Paper straws and other types of compostable straws may seem like a great idea, you use it and send it to a facility to be composted. But, these options are less preferable than going strawless or using a reusable straw. Especially when taken into consideration that these products come individually wrapped like their plastic counterparts, and those wrappers are not compostable or recyclable, thus ending up in a landfill.

While it may seem like an obvious decision to make the switch to reusable or compostable straws, there are many variables to take into account. For further reading on this topic, take a look at these articles:





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