The War on Plastic


Photo by Horia Varlan

Aubrey Tanner, Art Editor

The impacts of plastic affect the environment poorly, so it’s no surprise that parks and other establishments are no longer using plastic straws. Plastic straws have been around for a very long time; they first became prevalent in about the 1950’s. Now, we are trying to figure out ways to cut down on plastic straws that cause harm to the environment. According to Ben Chapman with Independent, a news source in the U.K. “Plastic straws which are thought to take up to 500 years to decompose” With plastic straws taking many years to decompose it’s no wonder companies are now switching to other alternatives.

According to the National Parks Service, “Americans use 500 Million drinking straws everyday.” This averages to about two straws per person per day. In order to help the environment, The National Parks are banning plastic straws from these locations: Crater Lake, Death Valley, Glacier, Zion, Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore.

Pollution is a colossal problem. With plastic taking forever to degrade and being used so often, it’s no marvel that huge companies are getting rid of plastic straws. According to Abha Bhattarai with the Washington Post, “Starbucks, which doles out more than 1 billion straws a year, says it will phase out single-use plastic straws from its stores by 2020.” But how do they plan to accomplish this? According to Bhattarai, “At Starbucks, executives said the efforts are part of a $10 million plan to develop cups and lids that are fully recyclable and compostable.”

Starbucks is not the only major company getting rid of plastic drinking straws in an effort to help with pollution. By 2019, Disneyland plans to get rid of their plastic straws. According to Genevieve Shaw Brown, A travel and Lifestyle expert, with ABC news, “The Walt Disney Company is set to eliminate single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all its owned and operated locations across the globe by mid-2019 (…) that elimination amounts to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually,” the company said.

Some other corporations planning to get rid of straws are Hyatt, Hilton, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. Other companies are switching to biodegradable straws to help combat pollution, while others, such as Starbucks, are making lids that you can drink out of. With these plans for companies to get rid of plastic straws, companies are hopeful that the battle against pollution will make much better headway.