The world is facing a crisis of single-use plastic pollution. An estimated 5 to 13 million tons of plastic waste, including straws, enter the ocean each year. This affects our ecosystems, marine life, and even the water we drink. Some studies project that by 2050, there could be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish if we don’t take action now to turn the tide.
Plastic doesn’t biodegrade. It breaks up into smaller pieces, which means that essentially every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some form. As of 2015, only 9 percent of all the plastic waste generated over the years had been recycled. Most discarded plastic ends up in landfills or in the environment, where it absorbs toxic chemicals, enters the food chain, and harms or kills marine life.
Plastic straws are one of the top items of plastic pollution found on beaches worldwide. During International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2018, more than 640,000 plastic straws and stirrers were picked up from beaches across the globe. Made primarily from nonrenewable fossil fuels, plastic straws are also difficult to recycle. As a result, countless single-use straws often end up harming marine life, ecosystems, and our coasts.