Are straws really necessary?


Summer Wyatt-Buchan

Sustainability 101

June 14, 2021

There is a common misconception when it comes to the use of reusable straws. Customers often believe that it is possible to use metal straws again and again instead of throwing away plastic ones and that this automatically means you are doing the environment a favour. Unfortunately that is not the case, as the energy used to produced O N E metal straw is equivalent to the energy used to produce N I N E T Y plastic straws. Even more worryingly, based on their carbon emissions, producing O N E metal straw is equivalent to producing ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY plastic straws. 


It’s important to note that the disposal rate for plastic straws was 100% in 5 years. This means that if one million plastic straws were produced this year, only 30,000 of those were disposed of after five years, while if one million plastic straws were produced this year, then one million plastic straws would have been disposed of even before the year ended. If you were to consider the break-even point, the environmental cost of producing your metal straw means, you would have to use it at least 150 times - which in my own experience isn't that likely. 

All things considered, I understand how metal straws can seem like the more eco-friendly option since the item is reusable and society has conditioned us to believe so through advertising but I have never met anyone who has even come close to using their metal straw enough to reach the break even point and unless it is an absolute necessity to use one for reasons such as disability, or for certain drinks like boba that require a straw, I don’t really see the need for us to use any. 

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