Ban Plastic Straws from Santa Barbara
By Veronica Aguirre-Dutton
Plastic straws are wreaking havoc on our environment and they need to be banned immediately in Santa Barbara County.
In order for us to take care of our beautiful city beaches, and make choices that take care of our planet, we, as a strong community and county, should ban the single-use plastic straw. Many cities have already ditched the plastic straw, like Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo. The decision to ban plastic straws in Santa Barbara County will profoundly impact our oceans health, and our health in a positive forward step to making more eco-conscious everyday choices. Plastic straws are made from polypropylene which comes from petroleum, they are not recycled, and they do not biodegrade. They are piling up! Due to its single-use purpose by the consumer, the straw is trashed within approximately 20 minutes. Every day, 500 million straws are thrown away.
This enormous amount of straws could wrap the circumference of the earth 2.5 times. Straws are among the top ten of the most hazardous plastics used by Americans. By 2050, it's been reported that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Available on the market for purchase are metal straws, glass straws, recyclable paper straws, bamboo straws and even edible straws. Restaurants can provide a reusable straw by request or switch to paper straws which are the fantastic alternative. Some restaurants who have already made the switch are proudly reporting a decrease in cost due to now stocking the paper straw and only supplying a straw upon customer request. But what about my orange mocha frappuccino? Coffee houses offer mug discounts when you bring your own!
There are several reusable bottle companies or even the classic mason jar that sell a reusable cup that includes a metal lid and metal straw, thus making it ideal for the coffee drink to be entirely waste free and at a lower cost. As for social drinks at the local bar, maybe we shouldn't be sucking down the alcohol that quickly and instead enjoying the savory sip of the cocktail. The options to replacing the plastic straw are endless; and, there are simply no excuses to make this important shift for each different kind of business that sells drinks in our county. Please go to change.org, search “Ban Plastic straws in Santa Barbara County” and please sign the petition.