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Environment

This Is the Last Straw

It’s time to crack down on single-use plastic drinking utensils, the world’s most disposable product.
Straws straws straws straws
Straws straws straws strawsDarren Staples/Reuters

Summer is here and so are frozen daiquiris, iced lattes, lemonades, hibiscus mint teas, root-beer floats, frozen margs, Arnold Palmers, chocolate milk, nitro cold brews, bloody marys, Capri Suns,  milkshakes, adult milkshakes, caipirinhas, rosé in a can, tiki drinks, and ice-cold water out of a mason jar. Kick off your shoes, throw on some shades, and carefully peel back the individual wrapper to sunny vibes. The world’s most utterly disposable product is the coin of the realm: Unwrap, sip, noisy-gurgling-sound, repeat—every day, twice a day, three times in a single happy hour. It’s straw season, mofos.

But, like everything else that’s easy, cheap, and pleasurable, using a straw is fundamentally wrong. Straws consume a lot of energy to produce and distribute for vanishingly little purpose. Billions wind up in the trash without ever being opened. They’re too light to be reliably recycled; tons of them find their way into the ocean. Straws that don’t end up spiraling in awful trash gyres or clogging sea turtles’ sinuses wash up on the beach, where they’ll outlive us all.