Stop using plastic straws for good! Keep a reusable straw in your bag, only accept paper straws when you're out or don't use a straw at all. Most of the time you don't even need one.
Goal: Reduce plastic waste
What you'll need: Glass, bamboo or metal straws
Not fun fact: We use plastic straws for an average of 20 minutes, but they stay around for approximately 600 years.
Fun fact: I absolutely love glass straws! They are much easier to keep clean and look so nice. If you have young kids, I'd suggest going with bamboo or metal though.
Change starts with a good reason. This is why it is so important to understand the benefits of the change you are about to make.
By switching to a reusable straw you will stop using the plastic straws that are provided. This means that less plastic will be produced, end up in our landfills and less in our waterways.
That's why your task for your first day is to check out some videos or read up on the lifecycle of plastics.
Buy some reusable straws
I have tried a few different types and they have their pros and cons.
Different types of reusable straws
Glass: I find these really stylish and easy to clean. They are breakable, just like the glass you drink out of. My six year old son uses them without any issues but you will need to gauge how responsible your child is with glass things, and this will naturally differ with every child and every family.
Bamboo: I had these for a while and they are very long lasting. They used to gross me out when my son would leave them sitting in the drink. The bamboo naturally absorbs some of this, so think about milk and any other random things they might get left in.. like tomato sauce.. soup..ice-cream. Also, I didn't like not being able to see inside the straw to know if I was getting it clean.
Metal: I have friends that use these. I have a weirdo allergy to metal things so it's a no go in our house. The pros are that they wont's smash or absorb the liquid, the cons are that you can't see if you get them perfectly clean.
Where to buy
There are a few places that you can find sustainable and reusable straws.
Health & Wellness Stores: These stores are usually located in every shopping centre or district, but they often go under the radar if you don't usually shop at them. Look out for stores that stock supplements, herbal teas, gluten free products and other health and wellness products.
Local Markets: These are the best places to shop for your new reusable straws, this way you get out in the fresh air, support your local economy and buy something that is made locally. This can reduce the carbon emission footprint. Check out our map of sustainable organisations to find something near you.
Online: You can also purchase your straws online. I have these ones that I got from Myer’s online store, the brand is Lujo Home and I love them! If you are purchasing online just be careful of sites like Amazon that will often ship by air (increasing the carbon footprint).
Out & About
The hardest thing about implementing this change is remembering to take your straws with you to the shops. The one we struggle with is when we visit MacDonalds. My six year old gets a treat on Fridays with a small slushy and we are still getting used to saying “No straw and no lid”. Often, even when we do ask, they still give us one 😡Here are some tips on changing behaviours.
Behaviour & attitude
Our behaviours are tightly linked to our attitudes. Ask yourself, how do you feel about taking straws out with you? Do you feel proud when others see you with your reusable straws? Do you believe it's important to make this change?
Barriers to this change
Friction: Social science tells us that one of the biggest problems with making a behavioural change are moments of friction. In this case the point of friction is having to take your straws with you to the shops and refusing straws at places where they are used to giving you one with your order. How I overcome this is that I focus on NOT using the straws, rather than using a reusable straw, that’s my rule. Which has seen me liking margaritas out of glasses and all sorts. So even if I do forget my straws, I have a few ways to overcome this.
Here are my tips:
Keep a straw in your handbag
Keep them in your car (for drive thru take-aways)
Always say “no straw” when ordering any drinks
If you forget: don’t use one
Motivation: Why do you want to make this change? Take some time today to talk with your friends and family about this change you are making. Try to find your motivation. When you find it, tell us about it on our Facebook Group.
Don't forget to put your straws in the car and in your bag ready for your next outing.
Make a social pledge to help you to make the commitment. Choose a pledge and tell your family and friends about the good things you're doing for our planet.
Are you ready?
I call these changes, Small Changes for Good, because we make them for the good of the planet and peoplekind. We also make them for good, as in, forever. So even though you have gotten to the end of this page (well done for that), this is a lifestyle change.
So are you ready for your next challenge? Keep up the great work with not using plastic straws and start your next Small Change For Good!