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16 Reasons You Should Give Up Straws This Year

By 2050, there may be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Do you want to do something to stop it?

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Hi, my name is Greta, and I have two resolutions for 2018: I'm trying to lead a more minimalist lifestyle and I want to be more aware of my consumption habits.

One plan I have for of my second resolution is to give up on plastic straws. I was encouraged to do so by my friend Alexandra Cadena, a screenwriter and environmentalist whose mission is to reduce plastic consumption.
Greta Alvarez / Via instagram.com

One plan I have for of my second resolution is to give up on plastic straws. I was encouraged to do so by my friend Alexandra Cadena, a screenwriter and environmentalist whose mission is to reduce plastic consumption.

Here are all my reasons for giving up plastic straws, and I hope they'll be your reasons for giving them up as well...

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1. Some plastic straws are still being made with materials that are potentially toxic or carcinogenic.

And even if straws are labeled as "BPA-free" they might still contain the chemical.
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And even if straws are labeled as "BPA-free" they might still contain the chemical.

2. And even though many disposable straws are made from recyclable materials, they can be difficult to recycle.

According to the Strawless Ocean, plastic straws are too lightweight for recycling sorters and drop through sorting screens and end up in landfills. (And that's only if someone bothers putting them in the recycling bin to begin with.)
Dextorth / Getty Images

According to the Strawless Ocean, plastic straws are too lightweight for recycling sorters and drop through sorting screens and end up in landfills. (And that's only if someone bothers putting them in the recycling bin to begin with.)

3. Plastic can remain in the environment for over 2,000 years.

Because (most) plastic is not biodegradable.
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Because (most) plastic is not biodegradable.

4. So that beverage that took you 15 minutes to drink will linger in the environment for generations.

Instagram: @perthsteph

In fact, it's likely that every straw you've ever used in your life still exists in the environment somewhere.

5. And for several different reasons, straws frequently end up in the ocean.

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Because they're littered on the beach, blown out of trashcans, or washed down storm drains, among other reasons.

6. Studies predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight.

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7. Because of their small size, aquatic animals can confuse bits of plastic for food and choke on them.

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Remember that massively viral video from 2015 where the sea turtle had a plastic straw extracted from its nostril? (If not, you can watch it here.)

8. No exaggeration: plastic is indestructible.

It just degrades until its microscopic. Even burning it creates harmful dioxin emissions that are bad for your health and the environment.
Krichie / Getty Images

It just degrades until its microscopic. Even burning it creates harmful dioxin emissions that are bad for your health and the environment.

9. Thousands of people end up in the ER each year because of straw-related injuries.

We're talking contusions, abrasions, mouth injuries, eye injuries...
Alina Demidenko / Getty Images

We're talking contusions, abrasions, mouth injuries, eye injuries...

10. An average person will go through 38,000 straws in 60 years.

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11. Which means that five hundred million straws are used every day.

And that's JUST IN THE UNITED STATES. No wonder a hundred thousand sea animals and a million birds die each year due to plastic consumption.
Tekinturkdogan / Getty Images

And that's JUST IN THE UNITED STATES. No wonder a hundred thousand sea animals and a million birds die each year due to plastic consumption.

12. To make a change, it's as simple as asking to not get a straw with your beverage when you order one.

It may not feel like you can save the planet on your own, but little habits like this help raise awareness and your influence can easily spread. One small gesture can have a huge impact.
Candyboximages / Getty Images

It may not feel like you can save the planet on your own, but little habits like this help raise awareness and your influence can easily spread. One small gesture can have a huge impact.

13. And spread the word! If someone notices that you're not using a straw, let them know why.

Hopefully you have enough facts now to defend your decision.
Nensuria / Getty Images

Hopefully you have enough facts now to defend your decision.

14. And for many people, ditching plastic straws will not affect their quality of life.

Of course, there are exceptions, and some people need straws. But for everyone who can live without them, imagine the impact it'd have on the environment if we all stopped using them.
M-imagephotography / Getty Images

Of course, there are exceptions, and some people need straws. But for everyone who can live without them, imagine the impact it'd have on the environment if we all stopped using them.

15. And if you're not ready to give up on straws entirely, there are tons of options for reusable straws out there.

Bamboo, stainless steel, paper, silicone, treated glass, etc. Go look around on Amazon and you're sure to find something that works for you.
amazon.com

Bamboo, stainless steel, paper, silicone, treated glass, etc. Go look around on Amazon and you're sure to find something that works for you.

16. To sum up, if you want the future to be healthier, now is the time to give up on disposable straws forever.

And tell your friends to do the same.
Apagafonova / Getty Images

And tell your friends to do the same.

This post was translated from Spanish.

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