How often do you sip your drink with a plastic straw? It’s quite a common occurrence in the hospitality industry, most cafes and restaurants provide plastic straws with drinks because its convenient for customers and cost effective for the business. What some people don’t realise, is that straw can actually cause a lot of damage to our environment. It may feel harmless, and you might think it’ll be ok because you disposed of it in the garbage… but where does it go, what does it do to our planet and what can we do in our hospitality industry instead? 

Why is Plastic & Plastic Straws a Problem?

The facts

  • In Australia, we use on average 3 billion tonnes of plastic every year, and only 12% is recycled. Of this 3 billion tonnes, 130,000 tonnes end up in our waterways. 
  • 85% of Australian Sea Birds are affected by plastic- this includes choking on plastic, being wrapped and stuck in plastic and starvation from ingesting too much plastic.
  • 95% of plastic packaging in Australia is discarded after 1 use
  • Plastic straws can take 200 years to decompose. Every plastic straw you’ve ever used in your life will still be here, even once you’re gone!
  • When plastic begins to decompose it releases harmful toxins into the environment, polluting our earth. 
  • The US used 390 million plastic straws PER DAY in 2017 
  • Straws are the 11th most common form of waste found in the ocean

What Can We Do to Reduce Plastic Straws? 

Stainless Steel Straws

Stainless steel straws are an excellent alternative to plastic. They are safe to drink from, easy to clean, and a convenient size to fit in your handbag. These straws come in multi packs with a cleaning brush to ensure your straws are crystal clean. Stainless steel straws are quite popular now and are available in a number of retail stores including Kmart and Amazon. 

Bamboo Straws

Bamboo straws are a natural solution to the plastic straw problem. Bamboo straws as the name suggests, are made from 100% sustainably grown and produced bamboo. These straws are reusable, and also biodegradable when you decide to throw them away. A number of online retailers are now stocking bamboo straws including Bamboo Straw Australia and Island Buddha

Paper Straws

Paper Straws are eco friendly, and completely safe for human use. They are available online and in some retailers such as Base Warehouse for purchase. 

Every plastic straw you say no to can have a huge impact on the environment. When you order your next drink, ask for it without a straw. Think about investing in some bio degradable or eco friendly straw options!