Why I decided not to use straws at all plastic or paper?
We all are too familiar with straws. I remember as a child I was fascinated by them. I never threw a single straw and had a collection of 100s of them. I even started using them in crafts and made pen holders, wall arts. Never thought how sinful and harmful this innocent looking piece of drinking equipment can be.
Yes straws were predominantly made of plastics. They are made from plastics called polypropylene and polystyrene. Unless recycled these straws can create havoc on our environment. They can take 100s of years to decompose.
In United Kingdom we use an estimated 8.5 billion plastic straws every year. So I completely support the decision of banning the use of plastic straws unless needed for medical purpose. This move got above 80% vote in public consultation and from this year at last we will be able to get rid of this little devil from our lives.
But how can we forget that straws actually represent one of the oldest utensils? Some of the earliest drinking straws are created more than 5000 years ago. Some of the expensive straws were made of gold, or precious materials though there were straws made from wood or hollow plant. So how can we get rid of our such age-old habit of using straws so easily! Very quickly we came up with the idea of using paper straws tagging them as the eco friendly alternative to plastic straws.
But do we really know if paper straws are really that guilt free alternative at all or not?
To my utter astonishment I found out that they can be equally harmful as the plastic straws if not dealt with properly.
Lets see the difficulties we may face with paper straws:
Material: If the straws are made of too thick papers, or it is lined by any material from inside preventing it getting soggy, it will not be as eco friendly as we think. Majority recycling facilities still cannot deal with such thick or lined paper.
Use: Where the straw is used for drinking and is contaminated with food, it cannot be recycled by many facilities still.
Disposal: If we dispose the straw with common household rubbish and it end up in landfill, then it will not be decomposed as landfills are made to starve from oxygen preventing the rubbish to decompose.
So how we can dispose paper straws?
To be very honest the best way to decompose the paper straws is to bury it under heap of earth. If that sounds too out of your way, then I would think collecting them for fun sake is good :-) Reminds me of my childhood days. Feel very proud now when I think how many times I saved my mother nature by not throwing the straws.
There is always the matter of time. So wait till we have the technology to recycle all paper straws thick or thin, lined or not.
Until then I am better off from not using them at all. After all why would we need them really? Paper straws are still single use item. We should make real effort of restricting us from using any single use items. Cocktails and juices can be sipped straight from the glass. Cokes taste best when gulped down the throat straight from the can.
So along with my promise of using reusable eco bags like jute bags, I have promised not to use straws at all.