It's time for disposable straws to go extinct, and here's an interesting campaign you can join to stay motivated. The question is, can you do it?
America loves its straws. An estimated 500 million disposable straws are used every day in the United States, which equals enough plastic to wrap around the earth’s circumference 2.5 times! While straws may keep teeth stain-free and lipstick intact, they come with a devastating cost to animals. Each year, more than one million seabirds die from ingesting plastic garbage, often in the form of straws.
This year, two young teens, Olivia and Carter Ries, have launched a campaign for the month of October called “One Less Straw.” Their goal is to get individuals, businesses, and school across the United States and Canada to sign a pledge not to use any disposable straws for the entire month. Individuals who slip up, accidentally using a straw during October, must pledge to pay a sum (minimum 25 cents) per straw used during that month.
Businesses pledge not to serve disposable straws unless requested and can purchase campaign buttons encouraging customers to ask questions about disposable straws.
Schools pledge to promote the campaign’s message and encourage families to sign up. Funds raised by students’ straw slip-ups will go to their schools in order to bring in more environmental education programs. The website has several informative videos on the harmful effects of straws on animals, as well as information sheet here. It is a good resource for teachers and parents.
The idea is that talking about the environmental implications of disposable straws and forcing people to think about it throughout October will generate longer-lasting behavioral changes. It’s a great idea and hopefully the campaign takes off over the next few weeks. The Ries siblings explain in an article on Life Without Plastic:
"We want students to get in the habit of saying 'No' to plastic straws for the entire month. Students will also have the opportunity to upload pictures of themselves and their families refusing a straw or even taking pictures of servers wearing our campaign buttons."
The Ries siblings are the founders of One More Generation, a non-profit organization focused on animal wellbeing that strives to help endangered species exist for at least one more generation and beyond.