Learn more about the problem and the Strawless Ocean program.
What is this all about? Plastic straws are really bad for the ocean. 500 million straws are used every day in America, and most of those end up in our oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life. We want to encourage people to stop using plastic straws for good. If we don’t act now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Aren't plastic straws recyclable? Most plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter. They drop through sorting screens and mix with other materials and are too small to separate, contaminating recycling loads or getting disposed as garbage.
How do plastic straws get into the ocean? Plastic straws end up in the ocean primarily through human error, often 1) left on beaches in coastal communities and seaside resorts globally 2) littered OR 3) blown out of trash cans (oftentimes overfilled) or transport boats and vehicles. While some city's waste management infrastructure is sound, not all communities have the same level of accountability. Remember, all gutters and storm drains lead to our ocean!
What happens once they're in the ocean? An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50% mortality rate. What would our oceans be without marine life? (source: Communication with Chris Wilcox, CSIRO, primary and contributing author to both studies cited) What’s equally as bad, perhaps even worse is that when plastic does make it into the ocean it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces known as“microplastics”rather than biodegrading or dissolving, which poses great threats to marine life including fish.
Why focus on plastic straws? We already know that plastic bags and soda can rings are bad for the environment and end up in the ocean. Few people realize that straws are among the top 10 items found during beach clean ups and can do so much harm to seabirds, turtles and other marine creatures. As an item of convenience for the vast majority of us, we believe refusing the single-use plastic straw is the easiest and simplest way for everyone to take action today to address plastic pollution. If we all take the pledge to refuse single-use plastic straws we will see a significant decrease in the number of straws found during coastal cleanups.