Over the past decade, the global environment has taken a sad turn for the worse. Though pollution is the main cause of global warming, plastic is one of the leading pollutants. It is slowly filling up water bodies and is adversely affecting aquatic life.
It is estimated that in the U.S alone, 500 million plastic straws are used on a daily basis. Since plastic is not biodegradable, the straws pretty much float around for years.
Around 8.3 billion plastic straws are floating around beaches and oceans in the world right now, and nearly 8 million tons of plastic finds its way to the oceans every year. Out of these, straws take up 0.025 percent of the plastic waste.
Plastic is a by-product of processed non-renewable fossil fuel (oil). The manufacturing of plastic releases a large range of pollutants in the air, and the product itself is not degradable and harms a wide range of marine life.
To curb plastic pollution, the food industry has shifted to metal or wooden straws and encourages customers to get their own reusable straws. This initiative has given rise to a new industry of metal straws, which has become quite popular in recent times.
In this post, we will talk about the benefits of using reusable metal straws and how they are helping the environment.
Metal or stainless steel straws are reusable straws, which work as an alternative for plastic straws. They are made from 304 and 316 food grade stainless steel and a combination of chromium, nickel, molybdenum and other common elements.
It takes about 0.98 MJ to manufacture one metal straw. Metal straws do not rust or degrade over time. They are specifically manufactured to last longer without losing their quality.
Benefits of Metal Straws
1. Environment Friendly
Not only plastic as a product but also the manufacturing of plastic has a significant effect on the environment. Manufacturing plastic straws emits 1.10g CO2 per item; now multiplying it by the total number of straws used per day is catastrophic.
Once the straws are manufactured, they are disposed off directly after a one time use. These straws end up in the environment, mostly in aquatic ecosystems.
Sea creatures like turtles are the major victims of plastic items, especially straws. These end up getting jammed in their noses. This leads to them having shorter lifespans.
Reusable straws totally eradicate the possibility process of disposing plastic waste, hence ensuring a better and safer aquatic ecosystem.
Plastic is made from the by-products of petroleum. It is very cheap to manufacture. As a result, large scale manufacturing of plastic straws leads to large scale use for them.
Metal straws are made to be reused and recycled. They can be washed and reused. This eliminates the need for manufacturing hundreds of plastic straws.
3. Reduces the need for landfills
Since plastic is discarded so often throughout the world, it ends up filling landfills. Nearly 335 million metric tons of plastic is manufactured every year and only 30% of that is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills and water bodies. Knowing very well that plastic does not decompose, it ends up sitting on this planet for more than 1000 years.
Metal straws reduce the need for landfills. Because of their recyclable and reusable qualities, these straws are reused and recycled over and over again. Governments across the world have to come up with better recycling and reusing laws to avoid further filling up of landfills. Until then, metal straws will promote reusing.
Plastic straws are only used once and are discarded. It is estimated that one person uses nearly 40,000 - 50,000 plastic straws in their lifetime. Multiply this with the cost of making one plastic straw, and the number is easily above $1,000.
Moreover, once these straws are thrown away, the government spends a lot of money clearing landfills. Many times, landfills are burned, which releases even more pollution. So, there is a drastic environmental cost to be paid.
On the other hand, metal straws are not that expensive. Because they are reused again and again, these are very economic and eco-friendly.
There are plenty of alternatives to plastic straws, like bamboo and glass straws. However, these end up breaking easily. Because of its striated and porous surface, it is harder to clean these kinds of straws.
Metal straws are much more durable than glass and bamboo ones. These do not rust and are made to last for longer periods of time.
Metal straws are also dishwasher safe. These can be cleaned and maintained easily without much expense. Most of them come with brushes, and can be cleaned with any kind of soap.
What’s more is that these straws are portable and are, at the moment, a popular trend. Once can always carry along foldable metal straws in small stylish cases and can use them whenever and wherever. The convenience that comes with a metal straw is groundbreaking.
Metal straws are one of the best alternatives for plastic straws. After understanding the consequences of using and throwing away plastic straws, it is only fair to switch to better and sustainable measures.
The metal straw movement is a popular yet effective trend, where people are finally shifting their focus to environment friendly alternatives. They are economic and come in various shapes and sizes.
Reusing metal straws is clearly the best measure that can be taken, rather than remaking one-time use straws. Some people debate the use of straws altogether.
Straws are timeless and have been around for longer than we think. These are preferably used for icy drinks like milkshakes and other slushes. They are also convenient for people who have beards or use lipsticks and do not want to spoil them.
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