Plastic straws may be small, but they have a huge impact on our delicate environment. A mind-boggling 500 million straws are used and disposed of in the US every day. At this rate, our oceans will be more plastic than marine life by the year 2050!
Why You Should Stop Using Plastic Straws?
If you use plastic straws, you won't take long to switch to plastic straw alternatives after going through
Cannot Be Recycled
Most plastic straws are too lightweight to go through a mechanical sorter. They drop right through sorting screens and mix with other materials that cannot be separated. This way the straws also contaminated recycling loads or end up in the trash and ultimately to landfills.
Choke Marine Life
Most plastic straws end up in the ocean because of human; They are left on beaches to be taken by the tide or get blown out of overfilling trash cans and right into water sources such as gutters and rivers all which lead to the ocean.
The sheer amount of straws that end up in the ocean has a naturally negative impact on marine as well as coastal life. In fact, about 800 different species are affected by plastic pollution and over 100,000 marine animals die as a result of it. Plastic straws make up a large amount of that waste. Since they are
small, they are easily ingested by birds, animals and large fish.
Once eaten, the straws cause animals and birds to starve to death because it cannot be digested. They assume they are full because of the weight in their stomach and loses the motivation to hunt or feed itself to survive. Besides starvation, plastic straws also get stuck in other plastic debris creating a pseudo
net that traps sea turtles and other marine life effectively chocking them to death.
Eco-Friendly Plastic Straw Alternatives
As the trend towards sustainability grows, plastic straws are now being targeted by environmentally conscious establishments. As such, more and more businesses are searching for alternatives that can help them reduce their carbon footprint and save marine life.The fight is on to ban single use plastic straws forever and you can do your part by choosing these environmentally friendly alternatives.
Paper straws are compostable. The material can break down into organic matter leaving little to no carbon footprint behind. These are durable enough to last in a glass of water for up to three hours depending on the brand you choose.
Metal straws are made of stainless steel or aluminum. These are extremely durable, can be used multiple times and are dishwasher safe.
Most glass straws are made out of borosilicate, the same material which is used to make kitchenware and other glassware such as coffee pots. It is quite durable, can remain damage free in the freezer, microwave and dishwasher and won't shatter whether it is used for hot or cold beverages. Plus, unlike plastic straws, glass is hypoallergenic which means it doesn't trigger allergies.
These straws are made from food-grade silicone which is free of BPA making it a great option for seniors, children and people who have disabilities. Besides being good alternatives to plastic straws, silicone straws are softer on the mouth and can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees. You can also boil these in hot water to sanitize them before use.
Bamboo straws are made using natural resources so they can biodegrade without harming surrounding plant and animal life. These straws are made from one of the most sustainable plants in the world, require no harmful pesticides to flourish and grow fast. Plus, bamboo regenerates from the roots so it doesn't have to be replanted.
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Agave is usually harvested for its sweet nectar, but it is quickly rising in popularity because of its use as an alternative to single use plastic straws. It decomposes 200 times faster than plastic counterparts and can biodegrade fully in five years in landfills. In contrast, plastic straws take 200 years to do the same! That's longer than you or anyone you know will remain alive!
It is never too late to stop using plastic straws. Drinking an iced tea may be the highlight of your day, but it will taste better if you're conscious is clear. So ditch ocean-chocking plastic straws and choose biodegradable options each time. Rest easy knowing that you are doing your part to make the Earth a
better place to live in for future generations.
Nature can eliminate negative energy and make a house look and feel like a cozy home. Enliven dull and drab rooms using these home decor ideas that utilize natural resources:
1. Woven Storage Baskets
Who says you need to add shelves to make your home more organized and beautiful? Just use quaint woven storage baskets as a better and aesthetically pleasing alternative. Use it to stash your spices in the kitchen, as a toilet paper caddy in the bathroom or a small storage option for your makeup on your
You can also use them to store extra blankets and pillows for the living room during the winter. That way, you won't have to root through storage rooms looking for a blanket when the temperature drops.
2. Macramé Wall Hanging
Macramé is enjoying a resurgence as trends shift to boho and eclectic home decor. You can find a number of options from craft stores or make one of your own. Use it as a plant hanger by weaving the leaves through the holes, nail it to the wall for a chic alternative to modern art or better yet, find stools that are made from macramé and place them around your home. You can also use them as decorative placemats on your dining table.
3. Seagrass Planter Cover
You don't have to purchase a super heavy or expensive planter to introduce nature into your home. Seagrass is a plant under the sea which give a very unique texture, durable and light weight. The identity of seagrass is their green natural color which turns to brown over time. Seagrass is very popular because giving a rustic look is caused by interesting shade, knots and texture variations.
4. Woven Placemats
Placemats are available in a range of sizes and shapes, but the plastic variety will do nothing for your natural decor theme. Luckily, you can get the same if not more variety from woven placemats and without compromising the aesthetic you are looking for. Also known as table mats, woven placemats can act as beautiful place settings for beautiful meals. Plus, unlike traditional placemats, these can also protect your expensive dinner table from scratches, spills and heat damage. Choose sets of different colors so you can mix it up.
5. Wooden Plates and Bowls
Wooden dinnerware has a charm that glass or ceramic dishware can never emulate. Even if you choose not to use them as dinnerware, you can always place them around your home to enhance the decor and give it a rustic charm.
What is great about these pieces is that unlike iron, wooden bowls and plates do not rust whether they are exposed to acidic food or left out. Plus, the material is compostable so even if a piece breaks, you can still get a use out of them. Even if you throw them away you can rest easy because wood is biodegradable and will not have an impact on the environment.
6. Rattan Decorative Trays
Serving trays don't have to be boring. Organize your beauty essentials or scented candles in beautifully handcrafted rattan decorative trays instead. These offer a natural backdrop to a range of products that you want to use as decor pieces and can even be used to serve guests.
Rattan trays are available in a range of sizes, colors and shapes so you can be creative with the decor. Choose ones with handles or handle-less trays as per your decor and functional needs.
7. Dried Flowers
If you love fresh flowers in your home, but hate to see them die, give them new life by using them in your home decor. While the flowers are technically dead, they still retain a scent and looks that can leave a pretty and vintage touch in a space.
You have several choices. Leave the dried flowers in the vase with the petal strewn around, pluck off the petals and make them into aromatic potpourri, create a beautiful wreath or press the dried flowers in an art piece and hang it on the wall.
Nature is filled with wonders that can make your house look and feel like a welcoming home. Use the aforementioned natural home decor ideas to reduce your carbon footprint and breathe new life into dull spaces.
We make choices that affect the world we live in every day. This includes the climate and living beings we share the world with. From what we eat to the products we use, there is a lot we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and make a difference when it comes to reversing climate change.
Here are the top ways to live sustainably if you want to achieve that goal:
1. Plant Seeds
Save time, money and reduce emissions by ditching the car trip to the grocery store and grow your own food at home. Plant a vegetable garden in your backyard or grow herbs in a pot on your windowsill. You don’t need acres, just a small parcel of land or a small spot where you can grow edible fruits, veggies and herbs.
2. Go Plastic-Free
Billions of pounds of plastic are floating in our oceans and choking flora and fauna. Every year thousands of animals and birds die from consuming them. Make an impact by cutting down on your plastic waste. Use reusable bags when you shop, ditch plastic water bottles of refillable metal ones and avoid products that aren’t made of sustainable packaging.
3. Boycott Products That Endanger Wildlife
Products that are made from animals that are on the endangered species list are illegal to buy, sell, trade or import. On the other hand, even if one isn’t listed, it can still be harmed for profit. Additionally, some products can threaten habitats by say polluting rain forests, poisoning the ocean and rivers and other things that animals need to survive. Live sustainably by boycotting such products and replace them with sustainable alternatives such as products that are packaged in glass, bamboo etc.
4. Donate And/Or Resell Items
You can give unwanted and useless items a new life by donating or reselling them. That way you can extend their life and reduce your dependence on single use products that are currently filling landfills. This includes old clothes, toys your kids don’t play with anymore etc. Sell these to consignment retailer or donate them to a nonprofit organization such as Goodwill which can redistribute them to those in need.
5. Make Your Home Eco-Friendly
Improve the energy efficiency of your home with smart decisions. This includes ensuring it is adequately insulated so you don’t have to crank up the thermostat. Energy saving windows and bulbs will offer the same benefit. Depending on the state you live in, you can even get incentives such as lower energy rates or free energy if you use it sustainably.
6. Don’t Buy New Tea Towels
Tea towels can be costly and depending on usage become a raggedy mess faster than you think. Plus, disposable paper towels don’t do the environment any favors. Rather than buying new ones, cut up your old t-shirts or pillow cases to make your own wash cloths. You will have a source for new cloth each time the old one has to be discarded.
7. Use Re-Usable Straws
Disposable straws do nothing but fill up landfills. Since they aren’t biodegradable, they do irreparable harm to the environment. Reduce that impact by switching to reusable straws that are made from metal, silicone or bamboo. Take them with you every time you go out so you don’t have to get plastic straws and can live sustainably.
8. Compost Food And Yard Waste
Organic material such as vegetable peels, leaves, egg shells etc make up a lot of the waste that we usually dump in the trash. You can actually re-use that by composting it into nutrient rich soil for your vegetable garden. It will reduce landfill waste, methane emissions and make your garden flourish. Use a countertop composter to start and then move onto a bigger one when you get the hang of composting.
9. Reduce Emissions By Switching To Other Transport
A typical car emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year and uses up precious fossil fuels in the bargain. Naturally, this is not a sustainable approach. Reduce that impact by ditching your car and switching to public transport where a single vehicle can transport a number of people at a time. You can also join a carpool or vanpool service for the same benefit.
10. Buy Items In Bulk
You don’t need to buy bulk items such as coffee beans, pasta, rice etc in small packets. Get larger bags at a time to reduce the amount of packages you throw away. If possible, shop at stores that provide access to zero waste refill stations. Take your own jars and bags to get refills.
The aforementioned tips can help you live sustainably but this is far from an exhaustive list. Do your part to reduce the effects of climate change by researching more ways to live sustainably.