If there’s one thing environmentalists would love to see on the endangered species list, it’s plastic straws. Those slender tubes are everywhere, and they create a huge amount of waste in the US. This is what has inspired two young people to start the One Less Straw campaign, a movement to break Americans of their straw addiction.
Roughly 500 million straws are used each day in the US. It’s a staggering number, especially when you factor in that there are less than 350 million people in the US. This spurred teen brother and sister Carter and Olivia Ries to create the One Less Straw campaign, the newest addition to their One More Generation environmental group. A non-profit organization, One More Generation embraces the notion that children can be a powerful force in changing the world.
During the month of October, the One Less Straw campaign encourages schools, business, and individuals to make a pledge to give up using drinking straws for the month. If you slip up, you promise to make a donation for each straw you’ve used — 25 cents minimum, per straw — at the end of the month. Businesses like bars and restaurants who participate can post signs announcing that straws are available by request only, providing the opportunity to spread the word about the One Less Straw campaign. Pledges raised by schools can be used to fund that school’s environmental education programs.
Each year, tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans. More than a million seabirds die annually as a result of consuming plastic waste, and straws are a big contributor to this problem. By giving up straws for a month, the Ries’ hope to encourage people to nurture a lifelong straw-free habit. Pledge to use one less straw this October, and spread the word to keep this waste out of our landfills and waterways.