BY EVE PAPA
Before I launch into an explanation of how it’s eco-friendly and responsible to limit our use of plastic straws, I do need to start by saying this: I agree with Angelina – the new lids are inconvenient. Straws are much more enjoyable to drink iced coffee and iced tea out of, and the lids are certainly a bit awkward.
But moving forward, let me also say that I believe global responsibility trumps comfort. And while we aren’t necessarily saving the world by changing our lids, we are making at least some sort of difference.
What it comes down to, in my opinion, is environmental concerns. I’ll admit, I’m not usually the first person to advocate for going green and protecting the environment (mainly because I find myself more focused on other worldly and political issues). However, I still feel the need to side with Starbucks’ new initiative.
Here are some fast facts about straw use and damage that I found on www.strawlessocean.org… The Earth’s population uses over 500 million plastic straws a day. Most of these straws are too lightweight to make it through the recycling process (which is why the new plastic lids are more environmentally responsible than the straws are), get lost along the way, and end up in the ocean. It is also estimated that 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs – which gives them a 50% mortality rate.
Bottom line: it can’t hurt to make a tiny change to our lifestyles in the hopes of helping marine life. And if eliminating a teeny tiny aspect of our morning beverages has the potential to help? Then it can’t hurt to at least try this.
I spent this past spring break working on environmental conservation projects in the rainforest of Limón, Costa Rica. I have experienced firsthand the delicacy of wildlife and the tragedy of endangerment. And even though these concepts do not exist right in front of us and aren’t exactly prominent in our minds, it doesn’t mean they aren’t real.
We may not be able to see the harm that straws inflict upon our environment, but it exists nonetheless. And here we are, with an opportunity to do something about it. Is Outtakes saving the world? No. Not even close. But is it helping, maybe just a little? Yes.
If you are really still upset about the lack of straws in Outtakes, there is a solution. It might take a bit of planning, but it’s still a solution that will end with you having a straw in your iced macchiato. BYORS: Bring you own reusable straw. They’re just a few bucks on websites like Amazon, they make a difference, and you can still enjoy your morning beverage the way you always have.
Reusable straws are not something I have yet tried, but I think they’re worth considering if you’re a die-hard straw advocate; it’s a valid option. I understand that my suggestion might arouse complaints such as “but you have to carry it with you” or “but you have to wash it,” but alas, I still have a comeback.
While these are valid complaints, I restate my point. Global responsibility trumps comfort. If giving up the piece of plastic that stands between us and our drinks is what it takes to save the seabirds and turtles, then so be it. Heck, take away all my plastic.
Actually, wait, maybe don’t . . . Let’s just start with straws. Yeah, that sounds good.