Actions speak louder than words. Many of us have heard this phrase since we were kids. Often, actions do speak louder than words. Recycling and reusing has greater impacts than simply speaking about it. Our actions don’t go unnoticed and our impact is felt by wildlife. Good or bad, our actions have consequences, and their ramifications are felt by many. Some of our actions affect more than just ourselves. When it comes to climate change, our actions affect habitats and animals as well. Our waste ends up in many places, often where it doesn’t belong like our parks, waterways, and our backyards. Many responsibly dispose of waste, but we can do more. For example, single use straws have recently gotten a lot of attention. Plastic straws end up in the ocean where they never biodegrade and are frequently ingested by marine animals. There have been cases of seabirds that die of hunger because their stomachs become full of tiny bits of plastic, turtles that have had plastic straws and utensils stuck in their nose and so on.
Straws are part of some peoples’ everyday life as some folks are not able-bodied. They’re everywhere! In your iced coffee, cup of soda, iced tea, water. In most restaurants your drink is accompanied by a straw, but not for long. The Coral Keepers decided to establish National Skip the Straw Day on every fourth Friday in February. Luckily, there’s alternatives for those of us who need straws. There’s bamboo, paper, glass, and stainless steel straws. All of these alternatives are either reusable or biodegradable, a trait plastic straws don’t share. National Skip the Straw Day is just one of many movements to reduce plastic waste.
Certain single use products had been previously banned in Seattle, but straws hadn’t been banned because of the lack to alternatives. In 2017, the city decided it was time for the ban. The market had finally caught up. The ban is part of a 2018 ordinance that reduces the quantity of plastic products used in the food industry. The ban requires food establishments to provide compostable or recyclable replacements for straws and utensils. Even before the ban, some retailers agreed to switch to reusable and degradable straws in hopes to prevent further water pollution and help marine wildlife. The City of Seattle hopes other cities will join the straw ban and join the movement to be environmentally friendly and responsible. If you would like to read more about details on Seattle’s straw ban visit this article and commonly asked questions.
Behind the ban are marine mammals, these regulations and National Skip the Straw Day have been set in hopes to help animals be safe and thrive in their natural habitats. Join us by skipping the straw a couple of times a week.