Coming into this challenge, I was a bit skeptical. I know there are many anti-straw campaigns and restaurants and stores are removing straws from their counters, but I didn’t think it was such a problem. These photos show a huge number of straws for such a small bit of beach. The big question is why are they here?
A lot of straws
The winners of the straw Challenge
Straws are made of #5 plastic resin, polypropylene. That is great for us because it is a very low toxicity plastic, but it is also durable and log lasting, which is bad for the environment. Straws are part of the very big problem of single use disposable plastic that can’t be recycled. Why can’t they be recycled? Well they can be recycled, they just aren’t. Two reasons for not recycling straws according to get-green-now.com are:
- they are too flexible and fall through and get caught in the recycling machinery
- polypropylene plastic has little to no value for the recycling companies
It is a sad thing that even plastic that can be recycled, usually isn’t because it is just cheaper and easier for the manufacturers to buy virgin plastic.
My conclusion is that straws are no more of a problem than any other single use plastic. They are just easier to do without. McDonald’s and other restaurants are using this plastic as a scapegoat because a straw for most people is expendable. They take them off the counter and look like they care about the environment while they continue serving drinks with plastic lids, given to you in a plastic bag.
What we really need is a way to make the straws that are already out in the environment recyclable. We really need is for polypropylene have some value as a material.
Great Follow-up post by Lenora
Lenora Ah-Sue Prosser is a community member that is out on the beach almost every weekend to clean the plastic and garbage that washes up on our little island. She brings a lot of energy and lately some kid helpers. She writes great posts of their experiences on the beach and takes such great pictures of the progress
|Tessa giving the kids a briefing on the challenge
scrambling rocks in search of more straws
more that just straws
the tide line before
Following photos are more of the rubbish on the beach on September 14, 2019.
|Clean-up under way