Early in July, Seattle banned single-use plastic straws and utensils.
San Francisco is poised to do the same.
As are many companies, including the Great Wolf Lodge lodging business.
I thought so.
Okay, fine, for all intents it is very good. But not for all purposes. (I separated two parts of a common phrase. I love language.) There are some complications involved that not too many people are willing to face. Not too many people even know the real negative impact this could have. I only knew because it was pointed out to me, on Instagram:
Did you like my peanut gallery-esque commentary?
As you can tell, I'm very passionate about the environment and wildlife within, even to the point of dissing people. But getting frustrated - or even furious - with people just trying to live won't help. Because that's just meaningless talk. And I suppose that "Do we need straws today, or would we rather save the turtles?" is the wrong question to ask.
The question we all should be asking, is,
"What can we do?"
Getting mad won't help. Talking about an issue and doing nothing won't help. Not holding yourself accountable won't help. On the other hand, becoming overcome with guilt won't help either. Solutions help. That's why they're called, "solutions." Here are some solutions for the plastic problem.
1. Use less plastic in other ways, if you absolutely need plastic straws. According to Vox's https://www.vox.com/2018/6/25/17488336/starbucks-plastic-straw-ban-ocean-pollution, "There are 150 million metric tons of plastics in the ocean. And if we continue this trend, scientists predict there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. One of the landmark studies of ocean plastic was published in Science in 2015. The researchers found that we generated 275 million metric tons of plastic waste in one year, of which 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons get into the oceans." We are Operation: OceanFixer, we care about the ocean. We consider this a problem. If you want to use less plastic but need your straws plastic-y, say no to excess packaging, or even bring your own plates/containers if you feel up to the task. Anything you can do to cut back on plastic, please do. We should sacrifice some things, just not "I could get injured or die" things. Do some research, and find out how you can take care of yourself and the world at the same time.
2. Hey, manufacturers! Make better straws! So far, looking back up at the helpful chart up there, the silicone straw is most successful but still harmful. The silicone's problems are "not positionable," and “costly." Part of the problem with this whole thing is, yes, everyone needs to be held accountable, but manufacturers always have more to do with the product design than the consumers. So, builders and inventors, let's take the silicone straw, and build off of that, or,
a) create a better plastic, somehow, so the material doesn't change, but chemical makeup and biodegrading process does, for the better.
b) find a way to destroy our current plastic. Oh wait, we did: https://www.sciencealert.com/plastic-eating-caterpillars-could-help-tackle-our-huge-waste-problem + https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-accidentally-engineered-mutant-enzyme-eats-through-plastic-pet-petase-pollution This, ladies and gents and nonbinary friends, is truly great. Get ready for inventions and landfill re-designs based off of this.
3. Go bigger. Move beyond plastic, if you have to. The plastic problem affects the sea and land, so tackle bigger issues, like overfishing or unlawful land animal hunting (I don't agree with hunting at all, personally, but there we have it). If there is an issue you care about, go for it. Just remember what (who?) you're fighting for.
. . .
With this, I leave you.
I'm always here to help.
- ZMKF, disabled founder of Operation: OceanFixer. 💙