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Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] [Free Report] Why are Plastic Straws so Harmful?

by Seojin Lee | 26-11-2020 21:34 Comments 2 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations



A lot of you guys are probably familiar with plastic straws, and the global effort to reduce the production of it the past few years. Many major companies, including Starbucks and McDonalds have halted the production of plastic straws and have switched to paper straws, in order to minimize their outputs of plastic and to ultimately help the environment. In order to understand this issue with more depth, we must first understand why plastic straws are so detrimental to the environment. 

The main reason why plastic straws are extremely harmful to the environment is because of its resistance to decomposition. It is said that plastic straws take up to 200 years to decompose; additionally, it is hard to recycle in many areas (1). Therefore, the production of plastic straws is extremely counterproductive as it generates waste that is very hard to degrade at an alarming rate; in fact, the USA uses 500 million straws daily (1)! Because so many plastic straws end up in the world since it doesn’t fully degrade, it never fails to be one of the top items found in ocean cleanups. There are many marine animals being harmfully affected by plastic straws and plastic in general; look at this unfortunate turtle for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2J2qdOrW44&feature=emb_logo

Not only does plastic harm marine life, it also harms us humans. Because plastic never fully degrades, they end up becoming much smaller pieces of plastic called microplastics, which are sometimes so small that they cannot be seen. This allows microplastics to travel along many food chains whilst undetected, and ultimately ends up inside humans. In fact, around 39 thousand to 52 thousand microplastic particles are consumed by an American every year (2)! 

Because of all these reasons, we must follow through with the efforts started by companies like Starbucks and McDonalds, and start or continue to use reusable and/or paper straws. However, instead of only focusing on straws, we must also try our best to reduce the amount of plastic we produce in general, such as using reusable grocery bags or replacing plastic Tupperware. Next time you buy a drink from a cafe, try to bring a reusable straw or refuse to use the straws if they are plastic!


Sources: 

  1. https://get-green-now.com/environmental-impact-plastic-straws/

  2. https://e360.yale.edu/digest/americans-consume-tens-of-thousands-of-microplastic-particles-annually#:~:text=Americans%20Consume%20Tens%20of%20Thousands%20of%20Microplastic%20Particles%20Every%20Year,-People%20who%20drink&text=It%20found%20that%20Americans%20eat,scientists%20included%20inhalation%20of%20microplastics

2 Comments

SJ Mentor

  • SJ Mentor says :
    Hello Seojin!
    It's your SJ mentor.

    Warm greetings from Korea!
    Hope things are fine with you.
    As you mentioned plastic straws are harmfully affecting to various aspects of environment.
    When plastic straws are split to tiny materials called microplastics it could also influence human by going through food chain.
    So I think we should strive to supply bio-degradable plastics such as PLAs which is made from corns.
    How about using reusable straws instead of plastic ones?

    I hope everything will come out all right.

    Best regards,
    SJ mentor.
    Posted 07-12-2020 08:55

Mun WooJooMentor

  • Mun WooJooMentor says :
    Hello Seojin,
    this is your mentor WooJoo.

    Thank you for sharing such an informative report.
    I heard that the plastic straws can destroy the recycling machinery because of its small size, and therefore they are dumped rather than recycled.
    I understand that recycling plastic straws isn't efficient in financial aspect.
    However, using paper or biodegradable straws instead of plastic ones isn't that complicated.
    Replacing plastic items one by one to eco-friendly ones would be the best.
    Let's be green activists, and a smart consumer at the same time.

    Keep sharing

    Regards,
    WooJoo

    Posted 01-12-2020 02:03

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