Looking for a novel way to do some good? Has it become tedious, all that paying for the coffee for the next person in line at the drive-through? Are you tired of making soup for the sick, are you bored with donating blood? Keep doing those things – they’re making a difference – but here’s a new idea to add to your roster: Say no to straws.
That’s what the Dakota Tavern in Toronto is doing, after staff there learned about the harm that plastic straws are doing to wildlife and the environment. For instance, plastic gets mistaken for food by marine animals, and it disrupts their normal feeding and reproductive patterns. (Not convinced? A cringeworthy video of a sea turtle with a straw lodged impossibly deep in her left nostril has been making the rounds… and changing minds.)
At the Dakota Tavern, a new sign on the wall reminds patrons that “Straws Suck.” Many other dining establishments around the world are also making the choice not to stock straws. Some places make biodegradable straws available to customers who request them. (Straws, after all, can be made of paper or bamboo. Then there’s my personal favourite, cookie wafer rolls. And what kid hasn’t ever sipped their milk through a piece of red licorice with the ends bitten off?)
According to the Plastic Oceans Foundation, we are throwing away over eight million tons of plastic every single year. Straws can’t be recycled, so they get dumped into the garbage, where they end up in oceans – and in sea turtles’ noses.
Straws suck. But you certainly don’t have to. When you order a drink, consider doing without a straw – or ask for a stick of licorice to go.