500 million straws are used everyday in the US. Around 20 billion kg of plastic ends up in the ocean each year, including straws. This plastic breaks down and animals, including the fish we eat, ingest this plastic.
Plastic garbage can also harm animals in many other ways, like the turtle in this video who was found with an object stuck in its nose.
People tried to remove this object to clear the turtle’s airway. They eventually pulled out a 10 cm plastic straw that was completely embedded in the nostril of the turtle. Plastic in the oceans affects us all because we end up eating all the plastic and toxins that get absorbed by the fish. Many animals, including turtles, die from eating plastic.
What can I do?
- Stop using straws, and all other single-use plastics like bags and take out food containers.
- Buy products with no to minimal packaging.
- Spread the word to your friends and family and tell businesses to stop using single-use plastics.
- Tell us about a business that can improve by taking a photo of the plastic item and posting to Twitter or Instagram with @SurfriderVan and one of the following hashtags: #StrawsSuck or #RiseAbovePlastics
- Want us to get in touch with the business directly? Use a Google search or Yelp to get the contact info of the business and send it to us using the form below.
What’s Surfrider doing about this?
Surfrider’s Straws Suck campaign involves working with local businesses to reduce unnecessary plastic waste like disposable plastic straws, take out containers and plastic bags. We are helping these businesses’ make an impact by:
- Creating a new company policy: only provide these straws if customers request them. This simple step not only cuts down on over 90% of the plastics used but it also has saved every one of our business partners money.
- Switching to paper straws...yes, that's a thing. In fact, straws were made of paper until plastics came into fashion in the 60s and 70s. In some cases paper straws may cost slightly more however when combined with an "available upon request" policy the company still saves money!
- Provide tools for businesses to tell their customers about these new changes. These include posters, checkout counter postcards and table top tent cards.