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Paper straws see ‘unprecedented growth’ as restaurants ditch plastic

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  • Paper straws see ‘unprecedented growth’ as restaurants ditch plastic

    Straws can have deadly environmental consequences, especially for fish & wildlife. In the U.S., consumers use as many as 500 million straws each day—more than 1½ for every American, daily—enough plastic straws to fill more than 46,000 school buses a year.

    While just one part of the more than 8 billion tons of plastic trash that annually flow into the world's oceans, it is at the center of a tidal wave to forego plastics for the sake of the planet. Municipalities around the world have, or are considering, bans on plastic straws—creating a supply problem for restaurants, coffee shops, zoos, theme parks and others who feature straws.

    One solution is Fort Wayne, Indiana based Aardvark Paper Straws—the nation's only producer of paper straws. Aardvark uses FDA-compliant / food-grade materials which are marine degradable & compostable. They are also in high demand & Aardvark’s paper straws can’t be supplied quickly enough to meet the overwhelming demand.


    Can aardvarks help save sea turtles? This Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company that sells paper straws as an alternative to the plastic counterpart sure hopes so.

  • #2
    It's a laudable effort, however, it's worthwhile putting the issue in perspective.
    Some 95% of the plastic polluting the world's oceans comes from just 10 rivers - eight of which are in Asia,* one in India, and one in West Africa - where rivers are used as waste disposal - a literal waste stream. The problem of plastics in the ocean is a littering and waste disposal problem.
    In many/most applications today, plastics cannot be replaced by less environmentally damaging material. So, shouldn't plastic be replaced where possible and educational programmes about littering be implemented? How about building waste disposal infrastructure to minimize the problem in the first place?

    *An interesting (12 minute) video on garbage and recycling in China, - it's about "face" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mV1EY6wZHo


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    • #3
      Gordo, you're right about those 8 rivers, & that youtube video does highlight the real issues: lack of education, breaking old habits and government willingness to not muck-up where we live. But, by generating overall awareness of this pollution, we can highlight the problem and show the dire results that ignorance generates.

      Paper straws are one small step forward, in an-ongoing campaign to reduce 1 component of the problem in 1 country. Hopefully, it positively contributes to the development of those needed educational programs you mentioned.

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      • #4
        I heard India is working to ban all single use plastic.

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        • #5
          So, I'm guessing plastic bags are next? Good. They rip so easily. I would love to see paper bags again.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Keith View Post
            So, I'm guessing plastic bags are next? Good. They rip so easily. I would love to see paper bags again.
            That ban on so called “single use” grocery bags is happening in my communities.
            Ankther well intentioned but misguided initiative. Banning them at grocery stores will actually increase the number of plastic bags since people will have to buy more bags dedicated for kitchen bin liners and to pick up dog poop.
            Banning plastic grocery bags is a symbolic gesture that will have zero effect on global plastic pollution.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by gordo View Post

              That ban on so called “single use” grocery bags is happening in my communities.
              Ankther well intentioned but misguided initiative. Banning them at grocery stores will actually increase the number of plastic bags since people will have to buy more bags dedicated for kitchen bin liners and to pick up dog poop.
              Banning plastic grocery bags is a symbolic gesture that will have zero effect on global plastic pollution.
              custom bio-degradable paper dog poop bags = Business opportunity!

              rats - http://flushpuppies.com/ - they got there first.
              Last edited by bill kahny; 07-11-2018, 11:16 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by gordo View Post

                and to pick up dog poop.
                Oh man. I mountain bike, and one of the place I go a lot has a ton of walkers/hikers, and a lot of them bring their dogs.
                I can't tell you the level of rage I feel whenever I see a plastic bag full of dog crap laying on the side of the trail (and I see them quite often), or better yet, hanging from a tree branch (which I've seen multiple times).
                I'm thrilled if you want to clean up after your dog and bring it back out with you, but if you're going to leave it in the woods, then just leave the crap so it will biodegrade. Don't put it in a freaking plastic bag so it stays there forever.
                (And I'm not a dog hater - I have my own that I clean up after).

                Sorry for the side rant! I just get twitchy whenever anyone brings up dog poop bags.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PrintIT View Post

                  Oh man. I mountain bike, and one of the place I go a lot has a ton of walkers/hikers, and a lot of them bring their dogs.
                  I can't tell you the level of rage I feel whenever I see a plastic bag full of dog crap laying on the side of the trail (and I see them quite often), or better yet, hanging from a tree branch (which I've seen multiple times).
                  I'm thrilled if you want to clean up after your dog and bring it back out with you, but if you're going to leave it in the woods, then just leave the crap so it will biodegrade. Don't put it in a freaking plastic bag so it stays there forever.
                  (And I'm not a dog hater - I have my own that I clean up after).

                  Sorry for the side rant! I just get twitchy whenever anyone brings up dog poop bags.
                  Preach on. I guess they think that they’ve done their bit. After all the signs say “Pick up after your pet” - it doesn’t tell you what to do afterwards. :-P

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AC Prepress View Post
                    I heard India is working to ban all single use plastic.
                    Not all of India, but state by state. One of the larger states - Maharashtra (where Mumbai is located), has just banned all single use plastic which includes plastic bags also because also the bags used here are extremely thin. Infact most are lesser than 50 microns.
                    Largely, the majority are in support of it however people are facing issues because like Gordo pointed out it is a question of habit. People need to be educated and options need to be made available.

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                    • #11
                      It appears that Starbucks ban of plastic straws will increase the volume of plastic Starbucks uses: https://tinyurl.com/yalorbf7

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                      • #12
                        Thing is that we separate plastics according to their re-usability PET, PE, PVC PP... etc. all have to be put in their own bins on pain of fine if you get the wrong plastics in the wrong bin, especially if you throw a contaminated PET hollowbody, you know them as a bottle of showergel in the wrong container.
                        Then when you have meticulously sorted the plastic they come around and collect them in one big truck to the processing plant where they get shredded of compacted and sent off to...
                        Wait for it...
                        Asia or India where instead of being recycled they are dumped in the sea.
                        Some say that the Anthropocene, the age in which we live will be known to future geologists as the age of plastic.

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