It’s National Skip the Straw Day. My husband rarely uses a straw. When we first met, I was working part-time at a local restaurant. One of the other servers said to him, “I never date a guy that uses a straw. It’s so unmanly, and childish.” He has never forgotten that statement. To this day, when he picks up a straw to open, he says, “Sorry, Chrissy.”
This designation has some interesting history. The Coral Keepers, students at Whitehall Middle School in Whitehall, MI, along with their advisor, Susan Tate, founded National Skip the Straw Day in 2017 to encourage Americans to give up the straw habit and help spread awareness about the damage caused by disposable plastics.
If Marvin Stone (the inventor of the first paper straw in 1888) were alive today, he might be shocked to know of the five large areas of the ocean, called gyres, where plastic garbage collects. The sea’s currents create vortexes trapping plastics, and in the collection are plastic drinking straws.
Straws and other plastics cause harm to marine life in many ways. Birds, fish and other sea life consume plastics accidentally or when they mistake it for food. Plastics don’t biodegrade. They break down into smaller and finer, microscopic pieces. When plastics break down, they produce bisphenol A (BPA) which interferes with reproductive systems in marine life. It also produces styrene monomer which is a suspected carcinogen.
According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws daily! So, on National Skip the Straw Day that’s potentially 500 million fewer straws that don’t end up in landfills or the ocean.
I am spending the day with a quilting friend. We will be visiting four quilt shops, and having lunch some place new. I’ll be sure to skip using the straw in my drink.