January 3: Let’s Celebrate “Drinking Straw Day!”

Paper drinking straws are disgusting.

There. I said it.

The way they gradually absorb more and more the longer they sit in your drink until eventually you’re stuck with a mouthful of mushy paper?

But I will say this about the paper drinking straw. It shows the spirit of ingenuity.

In 2015, marine biologist Christine Figgener posted a video of her research team removing a plastic straw from the nostril of a sea turtle. The video had over 35 million views and struck a chord with the public, sparking a rush to create the next great eco-friendly alternative. Soon we had:

  • Stainless steel and glass straws – They can be made in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes, are dishwasher safe, and can be used again and again.
  • Silicone straws – They are bendable, reusable, and are super kid friendly!
  • Bamboo straws – They are fast growing, can be made to be dishwasher safe, and once they wear out, they compost within a few months.
  • Seaweed straws – It is an easy plant to grow and has a similar texture to plastic, but when it biodegrades, it becomes a food source for marine animals.
  • Dry noodles – They are biodegradable, affordable, and can be extremely sturdy! Plus, who wouldn’t want to drink through a noodle?!

The creativity behind these products is undeniable. But it shouldn’t be surprising.

When people needed a faster way to travel, the car was invented. When homes and businesses needed a better option than candlelight to light their rooms, lightbulbs were invented. When people needed a way to wrap themselves up in a blanket but still be able to use their arms, the Snuggie was invented. Three life changing inventions, people.

Like Albert Einstein said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” And the more we learn about our planet and each other, what we consider necessary is shifting. Sixty years ago when plastic straws were all the rage, people would have scoffed at the idea of replacing them with seaweed. In the words of Maya Angelou, though, “Once you know better, do better.”

And even though I don’t think paper straws are a solution I can get on board with, I’d kind of love to have a plate of spaghetti and meatballs with a bucatini noodle straw. Because you can never have too many noodles, especially if they save the turtles.

creating an alternative to a one-use item.

It could be a new kind of straw, a biodegradable utensil, or a multipurpose cereal box!

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