Saving Our Oceans One Straw at a Time: How Reusable Straws Have Changed Our Generation


Lauren Guss, Staff Writer

   A video was posted online in Aug. 2015 featuring marine biologist Christine Figgener removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose. However, we only seem to be considering this now due to the lack of previous media coverage. 

   Why have we ignored this momentous video for so long? 

   Plastic straws cannot be recycled, which means they never break down and end up polluting our oceans as well as our cities and streets. When combined with the elements in seawater, the straws start releasing carbon dioxide and methane. Some marine life may wrongfully think that the


se straws are food and thus end up eating these toxic materials. Plastic can build up in their stomachs and prevent them from properly digesting it which may kill them. While some might only be mourning over their wrongful habits, others are taking action by changing their habits .

    In the period extending from late 2018 to early 2019, metal straws and other reusable straws have begun to grow in popularity due to the plastic straw bans in many states and countries. It took several months for these straws to become more relevant, especially in social media. Now, it has become a serious trend. The phrase “saving the turtles” has become popular as well, with its roots stemming from the video of the sea turtle with a plastic straw in its nose. 

   The first collapsible metal straw was created by Emma Cohen and Miles Pepper, founders of FinalStraw. Based in Santa Barbara, California, they started their company in 2018 and have massively grown since then. Their straws have a silicone, bendable interior and a stainless steel covering that allows for an easily collapsible alternative to plastic straws. Their mission is to give people a more convenient way to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, to raise awareness regarding the harmful dangers of plastic pollution and to convince restaurants to stop serving plastic straws. This company raised more than $1.8 million in kick-starter sales and is now on a mission to stop single-use plastics once and for all.

   According to a poll on The Paw Print’s Instagram, 42 percent of students own and regularly use a reusable straw. One person switching to a reusable straw can save 584 plastic straws from ending up in landfills. Now imagine how many straws could be reduced if a whole community used them. What about a whole city? There is no limit as to how many straws could be reduced with the metal straw, but obtaining these straws can be somewhat difficult.

   Although these straws are being made for a good cause, the price it costs to purchase one is a little extreme. FinalStraw sells their products for $24.50. In return, customers would get a straw built with excellent quality and care to ensure safety as well as a cleaning brush and a carrier. 

    In Poole, England, Elena Struthers-Gardner, a 60-year-old retired jockey was carrying a mason jar with a fixed lid and a metal straw. She later fell and the straw impaled her eye and punctured her brain, which eventually lead to her death. 

   CNN states that Assistant Coroner Brendan Allen assumes “the main problem here is if the lid hadn’t been in place the straw would have moved away. There is no give in them at all. If someone does fall on one, and it’s pointed in the wrong direction, serious injury can occur.” 

   Reusable straws have swept the nation in less than one year. The decreasing amount of plastic straws is extremely beneficial to marine life and lowering plastic pollution. The reusable trend is also spreading to plastic utensils, single-use food and beverage containers, and plastic bags. The more reusable options we use, the less plastic is sent to our oceans. Raising awareness for the dangers of plastic can also help the world reduce their plastic intake. 

   However, with this new eco-friendly trend comes a few safety issues. It is crucial to take precautions while using this product due to possible injury. Many people predict that in the near future, the world will be polluted due to our mistakes. With a couple of small changes, we can save our Earth from this miserable fate.