The Plastics News staff was at a lunch just before the holidays when the waitress brought a tray of waters with plastic straws already in them.
“Looks like someone didn't get the memo about straws,” quipped Publisher Brennan Lafferty.
We all had a laugh. 2018 was the year that plastic straws came into the spotlight in a big way. Just a simple search in our archives shows that we had the word “straw” in 4-5 stories every year until 2018, when it appeared in 36 different stories.
There were efforts to ban them or force customers to ask for them before they are served. Starbucks took aim at the straw, saying they were looking at replacing it with plastic lids.
I've thought a lot about the kid who did some legwork and estimated that 500 million plastic straws are used in the United States every day. That seems like a dramatic overestimation, but it made me think about my own straw usage.
So I've decided to track my plastic straw consumption throughout the year.
I feel like I'm a fairly typical consumer. I enjoy a Slurpee and a pop from a fast casual restaurant from time to time. My wife and I find ourselves out to restaurants most weekends. I don't have plans to alter my straw consumption, just simply track my usage.
So as of today, 10 days into the year, I've used two plastic straws and didn't use one that was placed on a table for me at a restaurant. I plan on updating my totals monthly on my blog.
Straws used: 2
Jan. 6: Straw given inside water at restaurant
Jan. 9: Straw used for smoothie