If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all, you’ve likely heard about how more and more restaurants are either cutting back (or entirely banning) single-use plastic straws. While some have hailed this as a great step in the right direction to cut out tons of plastic that would make its way into landfills and the ocean, others have pushed back against the initiative because it hurts people who need the use of straws (children, older people, those with disabilities, etc.). For restaurants who want to be greener, but who also want to keep their customers happy, it can feel like being caught between a rock and a hard place.
Unless, that is, straws could be used, cleaned, and used again?
Reusable Straws Skyrocketing in Popularity
According to Etsy, the number of people searching for reusable straws since last year has shot up over 200 percent as straw bans have become a bandwagon issue for states and businesses. Not only that, but searches for plastic straws have declined. Additionally, companies like Sand Straw, which have been something of a niche market in the past, are seeing more and more attention as people look to keep the functionality of straws without all of the negative repercussions of single-use plastics. While some of these are individuals looking for personal products, and others are businesses looking for much bigger solutions, the data as a whole paints quite a picture.
The change is slow, but it is happening in more and more places both in the United States, and around the world. While it’s true that just cutting out straws isn’t going to solve the problem of the massive amount of plastic waste we generate, it is concrete proof that there are solutions to the problems we face. Some of them simply require a little bit of ingenuity to find a solution that works for everyone sitting at the table, including the environment.