Did you know that the average American uses about 1.6 non-recyclable plastic straws per day? In total, Americans send about 125 school buses full of plastic straws to landfills every single day – many of those flimsy plastic straws end up being washed into our oceans and waterways, affecting marine life and the health of our water systems.
Those statistics are horrifying. Especially when you factor in that for the most part, straws are pretty unnecessary. Yes, iced coffee can be enjoyed without sipping through a straw (and ps, there are reusable alternatives if you do like the sipping experience).
We’ve become accustomed to grabbing a plastic straw at our local cafes, picking up that straw your waiter throws down on the table to sip your glass of water with, stirring our cocktails with those teeny tiny plastic stirrers that are almost impossible to get a sip out of – yes, choosing to drink from a straw is a conscious choice, but the act has become so second nature as single-use plastic straws are embedded into our eating and drinking culture in the US.
But that could all change. Scratch that – it will all change. And sooner than you might think.
Tomorrow, Thursday June 21st, I’ll be attending a rally and also speaking at a public hearing alongside NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal, co-founder of Lonely Whale and actor Adrian Grenier, and dozens of other advocates in efforts to urge forward a ban that will outlaw single-use plastic straws and plastic drink stirrers in New York City.
If this ban were to be successfully passed in New York City alone, it would help keep an estimated 13,600,000 plastic straws out of landfills every single day – that’s about 4,964,000,000 annually. Yep, that’s 4 BILLION!
As an NYC native, I’m eager and hopeful to work in parallel with my city’s government to phase out single-use disposable straws and stirrers; items that neither contribute to the success of our city nor the health of our citizens. If you’re in NYC and can take some time in your day to come out, I encourage you to attend the rally, bring your best straw protest sign, and join with me in standing up and speaking out for what you believe in.
The rally kicks off at noon EST at City Hall Park, and will be followed by a public hearing at 1 pm at City Hall Chambers.