Why Too Much Plastic Isn’t Fantastic
Here at Stroodles we understand that too much plastic is, well, not exactly fantastic. In fact, our global consumption of plastic is leading to roughly 320 million tonnes of plastic being produced annually, which shockingly only 9% actually gets recycled. This is leading to way too much plastic leaching into our environment.
Did you know that there is currently around 150 million tonnes of plastic circulating our beautiful oceans?! All of which threatens the existence of marine life, from tiny fish to big mammals and amphibians. Marine wildlife often consume plastic, mistaking it for food, which more often than not sadly causes either severe digestive problems or death. In addition to causing injury/death to these fish, it then also spreads the risk across the food chain, causing bigger fish and marine mammals to suffer too. Marine plastic pollution is also threatening the life of birds, as a lot of the time birds also suffer from suffocation or ingestion of plastic. Recent studies have revealed that every year 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million seabirds are killed by plastic pollution in our oceans…. How sad is that?
Another big problem with plastic is that it is made from unsustainable materials such as coal and crude oil, meaning that the manufacturing process of plastic itself is terrible for our planet. In fact, the plastic industry is one of the most greenhouse gas intensive industries in the manufacturing sector, and is therefore accelerating global warming. Additionally, the resulting plastics are then not recyclable or compostable, which results in millions of tonnes of lingering waste plastic, that can often take 1,000 years+ to decompose in landfill. When all this plastic is left to degrade, it causes harmful chemicals to leach out into the environment. Some plastics even leach toxins into the food or drink they contain, which then very worryingly make their way into our bodies.
The Reason Plastic Straws Suck
1. Plastic straws harm marine wildlife, as well as ecosystems
The big issue with plastic straws is that they are particularly prone to ending up in our oceans. Plastic straws never fully biodegrade, and so as time goes by they often just break down into smaller pieces of plastic that either float around in our oceans, or remain in landfill. As they break down into microplastics, they release chemicals into the soil, air, and water that are harmful to animals, plants, people, AND our environment. Plastic straws circulating our oceans then also absorb any other pollutants present in the water, which intensifies their toxicity for the animals who eat them mistaking them for food (including the animals in our food chain!).
While turtles are what have seemed to get people motivated about stopping using plastic straws recently (we are sure you’ve all seen the awful video of the turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nose), they aren’t the only animals impacted by plastic straws. Plastic straws circulating the oceans are bad news for ALL marine wildlife, big and small. Not only can sea animals get plastic straws stuck up their noses, many marine animals mistake plastic for food. Plastic has been found in an estimated 90% of all seabirds and in all sea turtle species, and it has been estimated that over 100,000 marine mammals die annually from ingesting plastic.
Plastic straws may be small, but when the world uses billions of them a year, they make a significant contribution to plastic pollution in our oceans. In fact, the UN predicts that if we continue to allow plastic to enter our ocean at the current rate, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish (by weight) - how shocking is that?!
2. Plastic straws are not biodegradable, and very difficult to recycle
Another big issue with plastic straws is that they are a particularly nasty form of plastic. As we all know, they have a shockingly short lifespan (sometimes even just a few minutes), before they are thrown away, and eventually discarded to landfill. The issue is that plastic straws in landfill sites never actually fully biodegrade. Instead, the straws simply degrade, gradually disintegrating into smaller microplastics (over a period of around 200 years!). To make matters EVEN worse, as plastic straws degrade, they also release harmful chemicals into the environment, which are linked to environmental pollution and health problems in not just animals but also humans.
Now, not only are plastic straws not biodegradable, they are also extremely tricky to recycle. Although plastic straws should technically be recyclable, unfortunately in reality they aren’t. Most plastic straws are simply too lightweight to make it through mechanical recycling sorters, meaning that the majority of straws often get bypassed by the sorting screens and end up getting disposed, and then eventually ending up in landfill sites or, even worse, our waterways and oceans.
3. Plastic straws expose us to unhealthy toxic chemicals
In this blogpost we have spoken a lot about the devastating impact that plastic straws are having on our environment, and in particular our oceans and sea life. However, this definitely isn’t the only reason why we hate plastic straws. A worrying recent study shined a light on the fact that drinking out of plastic straws can be bad for human health, too.
The chemicals that plastic straws are made from are a big cause for concern, as it’s suspected that one chemical in particular (which the majority of plastic straws are made from), polypropylene, can leach its way into our drinks. Polypropylene is believed to impact estrogen levels in the human body (which is apparently worsened in acidic drinks, UV light, and heat). In other words, next time you’re having a cocktail in the sunshine, perhaps think twice about using a plastic straw, and use a stroodle instead ;). The toxic chemicals that plastic straws contain leach into our food and drink, and have been linked to various health issues, ranging from hormone disruption to cancer. How worrying is this?!
Ways We Can Stop Sucking Plastic
Of course a way that you can stop sucking on plastic straws is to use the most popular alternative, paper straws. While paper straws are slightly better than plastic straws for our environment, they have proven to be very controversial, and, even though at Stroodles HQ we may be biased, we completely understand why! We believe that their horrible texture, awful taste, sogginess and uselessness are all reasons to avoid them!
Not only are paper straws an abomination (in our humble opinion ;)), we’re sure you all remember when McDonald's was the recipient of unwanted headlines recently, when it was revealed that their paper straws were actually non-recyclable. So, this made us then think, how sustainable actually are paper straws anyway? While they do come with good intentions, they unfortunately still create single-use waste, the exact problem we are trying to solve. Even though paper straws take less time to break down, and are much less harmful to our environment and wildlife, they’re still not 100% green (unlike our pasta straws!) and do come with their own problems.
The best way to stop sucking plastic is stroodling your drinks with our pasta straws instead! The best option is to always bring your own stroodle, or of course persuade your favourite bars and restaurants to join our Stroodle Movement and get stroodling!
Use a Stroodle (of course!)
It’s definitely ok to use straws again, but only if they are stroodles! With Stroodles you can say “pasta la vista” to soggy paper straws and ocean polluting plastic. Our pasta straws are made from only two natural ingredients, durum wheat and water, and are therefore 100% biodegradable (unlike awful plastic straws!) Even if our stroodles did happen to end up in our waterways, they would actually be a delicious snack for marine life!
Stroodles are a way to jazz up your drink game, they can be easily cut to size, perfect for every cold beverage. They also last over an hour, are flavourless and are zero-waste (you can boil them to make pasta!)
At Stroodles, our entire mission as a brand is rooted in sustainability, creating eco-friendly alternatives to everyday items, starting with our pasta straws. Our mission is to offer uncompromising solutions to the everyday consumer and business. We’re a part of a larger global effort to change the way we consume and use products, one Stroodle Straw at a time. Why not join our Stroodle Movement today!? Click here to get stroodling now!
How YOU can take action
While it’s fantastic news that the ban on plastic cotton buds, stirrers and straws is now in place in the UK, there is still a lot that needs to be done in the UK and globally to tackle the plastic pollution problem. If you’re keen to take action, and help us fight the fight against single-use plastic, see just a few examples below on what you can do to get involved.
1. Sign this petition to Introduce a levy on single-use disposable plastic manufactured and sold in the UK. This will help consumers, business and industry transition towards more sustainable solutions; ones that are long term and ones that consider the entire product lifecycle!
2. Australia’s Government is considering a ban on single-use plastics! We all want and deserve clean, healthy oceans that are full of life. But plastic is polluting our oceans and choking whales, dolphins and turtles. We can ensure that plastic pollution will not find its way into our oceans, by stopping it at the source. Let’s stop those items that are used once and yet pollute forever from entering our waterways and reaching our oceans. Show support by signing the Australian Marine Conservation Society and Sea Shepherd Australia petitions below.
3. Join thousands of amazing supporters around the world who have already signed WWF’s petition to, by 2030, stop the leakage of plastics into our oceans.
4. Take action to stop plastic pollution with the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Click on the link below to see the huge range of ways you can take action, and petitions you can sign, including a petition to stop corporate plastic polluters from exploiting the current global pandemic.
5. Say no to plastic straws A French movement, a global impact! Sign the petition below to ask France to ban plastic straws.
How businesses can take action
While there have been an increasing number of countries who have put plastic straw bans in place over recent years, it’s not just these new regulations that has stopped businesses using plastic straws, and other single use plastic items. Businesses are beginning to feel the pressure from their consumers and investors to be more sustainable, and carry out business operations in a way that is as eco-friendly as possible.
More and more businesses are opting for sustainable alternatives to single use plastic items such as straws, even before they are forced to comply with new bans and regulations. This is not only good for our environment, but it is also great for these businesses. Here are a few examples of our stroodling customers, who have removed plastic straws from their business as a pledge to a more sustainable future.
In the heart of Islington, on Upper Street you’ll discover your own tropical escape at Laki Kane. Putting a modern spin on the tiki bar experience, you’ll experience a carnival of the senses packed with the Aloha spirit of eternal happiness. A place to share dinner with friends, taste unforgettable cocktails (served with pasta straws ;)), experience the entertainment, music and DJs all delivered to you with a five-star service and a smile!
In a bid to be more sustainable Laki Kane only use glass straws, and our stroodles pasta straws!
London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Aligned with the UK’s plastic straw ban, plastic straws have been removed from all bars and restaurants at Marriott hotels. With more than 60 sites operating under Marriott brands in the UK, the group has requested its teams to remove all plastic straws from circulation throughout the hotels with immediate effect. This move has resulted in London Marriott Hotel County Hall joining our Stroodles Movement, and offering their customers our famous pasta straws!
Accor Ibis London Shepherd’s Bush
Accor Hotels UK & Ireland have also pledged to discontinue the use of plastic straws in its restaurants, cafes and bars. The hotel group is asking its bars, restaurants and cafes to consider their drinks menus and go completely straw-free where possible, or using alternative biodegradable straws. We are so happy to have partnered with Ibis London Shepherd’s Bush, who now offer stroodles to their customers!
If you’re reading this and own a bar, restaurant, hotel, cafe or any other type of business that wants to help the fight against plastic straws (and get stroodling instead!) please do send us a message here or request a free sample by clicking here!
While we know that avoiding plastic straws won’t save our planet and beautiful oceans on its own, we believe that when people start consciously thinking about their habits and making small changes, they can bring about shifts in consciousness that lead to wider societal changes. At Stroodles, our aim is to do just that. We want to inspire the world on how easy it is to make small sustainable changes in a fun and uncompromising manner.
At Stroodles HQ we believe that becoming a gateway for change will enable us to leave a long term impact on plastic waste, by freeing the world of soggy paper and plastic straws. We really hope that reading this will serve as some added motivation to say no to plastic straws once and for all, as plastic straws weren’t okay before, and they definitely aren't okay now. However, it’s ok to use a straw again, as long as it’s a stroodle!