Design trends

Environmental impact of straw

Plastic drinking straw production contributes a small amount to petroleum consumption, and the used straws become a small part of global plastic pollution when discarded, most after a single use.[57]

Plastic straws are not widely recycled and may continue to pollute various aspects of the environment, including bodies of water and streets due to their lack of proper disposal.[58]

A video of a plastic straw being removed from the nostril of a sea turtle by marine biologist Nathan J. Robinson (biologist) and filmed by Christine Figgener, quickly spread across all forms of media and spurred the elevation of awareness regarding the potential danger of plastic straws for marine life.[31] The scientist who uploaded the video remarks that it is the emotional pull of the imagery, rather than the significance of the plastic straw itself in the plastic debacle, that garnered such high viewership.[59]

One anti-straw advocacy group has estimated that about 500 million straws are used daily in the United States alone – an average 1.6 straws per capita per day. This statistic has been criticized as inaccurate, because it was approximated by Milo Cress, who was nine years old at the time, after surveying straw manufacturers to ask their estimates of the total, which he then averaged. (Further details are unavailable as “being 9, he had not thought to document the process closely.”) This figure has been widely cited by major news organizations Market research firm Freedonia Group estimated the number to be 390 million.[65] Another market research firm Technomic estimated the number to be 170 million, although this number excludes some types of straws.[65]

Plastic straws amounted to 5–7.5% of all waste collected from beaches during the 2017 International Cleanup Event, conducted by Ocean Conservancy, making it a minor contamination source, yet considered easy to avoid.[31] In total, they are less than 0.022% of plastic waste emitted to oceans.[67]

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