Disposable, single-use plastic straws are commonly used for a few minutes, but they stay in our landfills and oceans for hundreds, if not, thousands of years and never fully degrade. They can be considered unnecessary wastes and eliminating them from our daily life can create a life-changing impact to our planet and to our health; and continuous use of these “unnecessary” wastes would only pile up and no amount of recycling can ever keep up with the amount of pollution and health hazards they pose to the environment.
Plastic products, like straws, are made with a variety of potentially toxic chemicals; and cause distinct risks to human health at varying stage of its lifecycle from production to usage to disposal. Cases of cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, low birth weight, and impairment of the immune system are among the reported effects to health.
Chemicals used in plastic drinking straws create and release toxic industrial wastes in the air from manufacturing stage known as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). HAPs are associated with harmful health effects, including cancer and reproductive issues as microplastic particles and hundreds of toxic substances are inhaled or ingested during production
Consumers can get exposed to chemicals leaching from plastic drinking straws into their drinks. And even after they are used, their disposal releases toxic substances including heavy metals such as lead, mercury and acid gases that goes to the air, soil, and water causing both direct and indirect health risks to workers and nearby communities.
Microplastics, which enter the human body directly and lead to an array of health impacts (including inflammation, genotoxicity, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and necrosis) that are linked to negative health outcomes ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer and autoimmune conditions;
With the alarming increase in levels in plastic pollution, and the growing trend toward sustainability and being eco-friendly, people and businesses especially in the food industry have started to offer alternatives to the traditional single-use plastic straw. In fact, some businesses have started to offer strawless days in an effort to lessen and eventually rid of single-use plastic straw pollution. Whether you go for the more sustainable or more durable option, both are more expensive than plastic straws. However, there are a number of alternatives to plastic straws; and the following options are the most practical and popular options.
PLA (Polylactic Acid) Straws
PLA straws are made from corn resin and most are certified compostable. Corn is a renewable resource, which helps make PLA more sustainable than plastic which is made from petroleum. PLA straws are very flexible and perform similarly to single-use plastic straws.
Most metal straws are made from stainless steel and are extremely durable and can be reused many times on hot or cold drinks. A word of caution: be careful not to bite if you don’t want your teeth to be chipped.
Another way to totally scrap the unnecessary use of plastic straws is to bring your own water bottle. Choose an eco-friendly and BPA-free water bottle and make sure to fill it with only pure and healthy drinking water. If you find it worthwhile to invest in eco-friendly solutions, might as well go all the way in investing in your health. To find out more about how to get the healthy, safe and pure drinking water anytime, visit SJ Wave's website and check out their complete water solutions for your family.
Single-use plastic varieties including drinking straws pose adverse health effects to humans to your health not only to our environment. It may be convenient to use single-use plastics, but the risks it poses on your health may not be worth the convenience at all.
You can do your own share in saving the environment by simply requesting “No Straw” with your drinks or by bringing your own straw, whether reusable or biodegradable, wherever you go. You may not be able to reap the benefits of ditching single-use plastic straws in your lifetime, but the future generation will definitely be grateful thousand of years from now. So start making an effort to minimize if not totally eliminate single-use plastic straws in your system. Remember, every time you say "no" to plastic straws, you say "yes" to health.