United Nations (UN), even if the agreements established in Paris in 2015 are fulfilled, the Earth’s temperature could reach 3.2 degrees. Cities themselves are responsible for the consumption of a large part of the world’s energy and, according to the UN, for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the most obvious examples is plastic. Finally, countries, people, and brands are starting to get serious about reducing single-use plastic. That means windows of opportunity in sustainability with paper straws.
Currently, more than 500 million single-use plastic straws are used every day in the United States alone. That’s enough straws to circle the Earth 2.5 times every day. This figure equates to 175 billion plastics a year leaking into landfills and littering waterways and oceans.
Although straws can be recycled, this is rarely done. Instead, they end up in landfills, where they further harm the oceans.
They are not the most significant pollutants in waterways, but they can be dangerous to fish and birds. Their size makes them easy for marine life to eat and even embed in the noses of sea turtles. When these animals ingest plastic, they have a 50% mortality rate. There are many windows of opportunity here in sustainability to save the lives of marine animals.
This is not an exaggeration; plastics are killing the ocean. Yet, straws are one of the most common items found during beach cleanups. That means windows of opportunity in sustainability with paper straws, a sustainable solution for several reasons:
- They’re safe and Food and Drug Administration food grade compliant.
- They are durable.
- They are environmentally friendly.
- They come in a variety of sizes to replace the current plastic straws. This is an example of how not to miss windows of opportunity in sustainability.
Paper straws were created by Marvin Stone of Washington, DC, who hated rye straw waste. They continued to be popular until they were replaced by plastic in the 1960s. Paper straws remain a single-use alternative. Some are now made from renewable sources and are biodegradable.
Awareness is the first step in making a change, as this is a problem that affects us all. Hundreds of people globally have changed their consumption habits in response to the threat posed by climate change.
To change the way we consume and contribute to improving the planet, you can make several changes in your lifestyle, such as using public transport, saving water when showering, using renewable energies, recycling, reusing, buying local products, avoiding plastic products, or trying to consume less red meat. These are some tips that we can adopt on an individual level to be more environmentally friendly.
Many people who have changed their habits have reduced their household water consumption. On the other hand, several have adopted recycling measures, and many more have reduced energy consumption. In addition, many have implemented the reuse of products instead of throwing them away, and one has opted to buy ‘zero kilometer’ products; these small actions can translate into a significant change if many people adopt them.