Taking care of our planet is like taking care of our houses. Since we human beings come from nature, there is no point in our going against nature, which why I say the environment is not a matter of religion, ethics or morality. These are luxuries, since we can survive without them. But, we will not survive if we continue to go against nature. -Dalai Lama
Plastic straws have been a buzz word in the media and news reports lately, but it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored. Americans on average use 1.5 straws per day and toss a collective total of 500 millions straws every day. A 2017 study at the University of California, Santa Cruz showed that 91 percent of the plastic we use are not recycled and instead end up in landfills or the ocean.
Plastic straws in theory can be recycled but most straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. They drop through sorting screens, mix with other materials and are too small to separate, contaminating recycling loads or getting disposed as garbage. When the straws reach the ocean they break down into smaller pieces know as “microplastics” rather than biodegrading. This form of plastic poses a bigger threat to the oceans.
A google search on “microplastic pollution” returns over a millions results on the topic. Microplastic is defined as extremely small pieces of plastic debris in the environment resulting from the disposal and breakdown of consumer products and industrial waste. Scientists at the UGA New Materials Institute conducted a study which discovered microplastic particles smaller than dust or powdered sugar inside baby sea turtles. Of the turtles studied, 100% were found to have eaten plastic.
Here at Core Coffee we recently started carrying a product called Final Straw, a reusable straw that is collapsible and fits in a convenient carrying case. With its launch on Kickstarter last year it raised 1.8 million dollars! The city of Portland is already exploring strategies around banning single use plastics within city limits. Seattle was the first city in the United State to pass a law last year to ban plastic straws. With every purchase of Final Straws at our café we will donate $1 to ocean cleanup efforts in Oregon.
Small efforts lead to big changes. We would love to hear what you do to help the environment?!