Plastic straws are embedded deep in our consumer culture.
They have monopolized other straw alternatives thanks to their convenience. They are so entrenched in our systems that they evoke a cognitive effect in consumer behavior and are provided automatically when you order a drink. We seem to forget about asking a few meaningful questions: Do we really need a straw? Do we even use it when we get it? We might just use it to stir ice cubes or leave it completely unused on the table.
Eco-Cycle estimates that just the US alone uses up to 500 million plastic straws every day, an average of 1.6 straws per person. That’s 175 billion plastic straws each year, not including all the straws attached to juice and milk cartons. Plastic takes up to 500 years to decompose, so these billions of plastic straws are building up in global landfills and ecosystems.