Ditch the straws.
This month's Green Tip is focused on - you guessed it - plastic straws.
You might have noticed that a lot of the cafes, restaurants and bars in New Zealand are switching out plastic straws in favour of paper-based straws, or even better, they're ditching them altogether.
A straw here and there may not seem like a big deal, but when you consider how many people are using a straw around the world at any given moment, the environmental cost really adds up quickly. Some estimates say that in the USA alone, more than 500 million plastic straws are used per day.
So, what's the big deal?
It takes up to 200 years for one plastic straw to breakdown in the environment. That doesn't mean it degrades away into nothing, that's just the time it takes to break up fully. Add to this that most plastic straws can't (or won't) be recycled, and we have a quickly expanding problem.
On average, 1 million seabirds and over 100,000 marine animals will die globally from ingesting plastic. That doesn't include the plastics they get trapped in or caught in.
Plastic breaks into smaller pieces in waterways and oceans, meaning marine life are ingesting smaller pieces of plastic, which works its way back into our food chain.
Straws and plastic drink stirrers are the 11th most commonly found plastic in ocean cleanups, globally.
What can I do?
Simple - say no to straws when you order your drinks. Even better, carry a stainless steel reusable straw with you for when you're out and about. They're cheap, easy to clean and compact for putting into bags or pockets.
Say no to the straw!