Drinking Out of Straws

It’s been a good two weeks since I checked in with my sustainability goal of creating less and less plastic waste. I’m certainty more conscious of my output, but I can’t say I’m as earth friendly of a person as I would hope to be.

I am guilty of using plastic straws at restaurants and takeout places! Every time I drink from a straw I imagine baby turtles, seals, and dolphins choking on these non-biodegradable pieces of plastic. Why exactly do we drink out of straws? From the time we were small children (and all through adulthood) restaurants provide us with the norm of drinking out of straws for “sanitary reasons.” I’m all for being sanitary and healthy when it comes to food, but I often stop and think- why do we need straws for drinking when the glasses we use have been washed and sterilized by a dishwasher?

If drinking directly out of clean glasses at restaurants seems sketchy because other people used them, then we  should be avoiding restaurants. If straws are needed to ensure cleanliness, then we would be eating off of only single-use items. I don’t think people want to i use paper plates and plastic utensils for fine dining experiences!

If people are okay with using forks and knives that have been washed, why is it socially expected to drink from a straw rather than right from the glass at restaurants? Why is it okay to drink from a wine glass without a straw, but not a soft-drink glass? Just imagine the amount of waste that would be saved if every restaurant stopped automatically serving their drinks with straws. If straws weren’t given, people would have to ask for them. And people may not notice or they may realize that yes, we can get on without straws.

Next time I give my drink order,  I’m going to remember to explicitly request no straw with my beverage. If enough people begin doing this, waitresses will automatically ask their customers if they would like to drink from a straw. That would be pretty neat.

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