Harming the Environment One Straw at a Time


Samantha Moilanen

New Starbucks lid that eliminates the use of a straw.

Samantha Moilanen, Editor

The rising movement to ban the use of plastic straws around the world brings questions like: How can this one act can lead to any real change in the environment? Is this the most effective way to preserve the marine life and ecosystems?

Plastic straws have been a part of the economy since they were first invented in 1888, but are now on the path to permanent elimination. Recently, many major cities and select companies dedicated to preserving the ocean marine life and ecosystems are outlawing plastic straws.

This movement was first put into action by the nonprofit, Lonely Whale in an effort to ban all use of plastic straws beginning in Seattle. Not only do plastic straws directly harm the environment due to the fact that they cannot be recycled, but they also have been indirectly killing a large amount of the ocean marine life.

“Eliminating plastic straws is beneficial to the environment, and although it will not completely solve the plastic crisis overall, it will bring us one step closer to cleaning up the oceans and saving the marine life,” said junior Kerry Grogan.

Samantha Moilanen
Paper straws are now being used in place of plastic straws.

Although any form of plastic is harmful to the environment when it is not recycled, how is eliminating plastic straws going to make a difference? Straws are only one type of plastic utensil that is on the path to elimination in many major cities, but what about the other non-disposable items that are negatively affecting the environment on the daily? For years, people have been focusing on plastic straws in particular because of their direct harm to marine wildlife when the animals misinterpret the straws for food. Marine ecosystems off the coasts of many major cities are moving to change their lifestyles by incorporating other methods to consume drinks without the use of straws.

One company in particular, Starbucks, has already begun the change to switching over their disposable cups to ones with lids that allow for sipping a drink without the use of a straw. They hope to complete this switch by 2020 and state that it will eliminate millions of straws from infiltrating the environment every year, and many companies are beginning to follow their lead as the trend becomes more and more popular.

It is great to move away from plastic straws, especially if it will help the environment. Starbucks is currently working to get rid of straws completely in the near future, and straw less lids are an option for anyone who would prefer to have one. I hope other companies will start to make the same changes as we have,” said senior and Starbucks employee Michael Berry.

The switch from plastic straws to more disposable and recyclable lids and paper straws is sweeping around the world with many companies and organizations joining the movement to save the environment. Although this change will not completely eliminate the plastic crisis around, it is making one small change that has a greater outcome in the future. Hopefully, more people like the students at Adams will join the cause to save the environment.