o plastic straw, please.”

These are easy words to remember and use the next time you’re at a restaurant or bar and order a drink.


Do you really need, or even use, the straw?

Or do you just sort of stir the ice cubes around in your glass with it once in a while? Or just take it out as soon as you receive your drink and leave it on the table completely unused? Pure plastic waste.

Be part of the “No Straw” movement, which is spreading and promoting non-plastic straws – recently the Bacardi spirits company instituted an in-house initiative to remove plastic straws and stirrers from all its events.

Most plastic straws end up in landfills or as pollution!

Providing a plastic straw with a drink is automatic in many restaurants and bars. For those straws that are actually used, it’s likely just for minutes. Then most are thrown directly in the garbage (a very small proportion are recycled). They end up in a landfill, or worse, as waste that “leaks” out into the broader environment of urban and rural landscapes and waterways.

The Last Plastic Straw

Eco-Cycle estimates 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded each day in the United States alone. That amounts to 175 billion each year just in the USA! To provide more perspective.

Eco-Cycle notes the following:

500 million straws could fill over 127 school buses each day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year!

500 million straws per day is an average of 1.6 straws per person (in the US) per day. Based on this national average, each person in the US will use approximately 38,000 or more straws between the ages of 5 and 65.

Note that these estimates do not include all the straws attached to juice and milk cartons handed out in school lunchrooms and included in lunch boxes every day.

Most straws are made of polypropylene plastic (recycling symbol #5) – a petroleum-derived plastic that does not break down easily.

The Worldwatch Institute describes plastic straw production as follows:

Colorants, plasticizers (which make the plastic more flexible), antioxidants (which reduce the interactions between oxygen and the plastic), and ultraviolet light filters (which shield the plastic from solar radiation) are added. Straws are then individually wrapped in sleeves or bulk-packed in plastic or cardboard containers.

These plastic straws do not biodegrade, they photodegrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces that are easily eaten by wildlife.

Because it is a tougher plastic, when polypropylene goes into the marine environment it absorbs toxins for a long time. These toxin-heavy plastics are then often ingested by and slowly poison wildlife.

We have included a powerful video that went viral of researchers removing a plastic straw from the nostril of a sea turtle. (Warning: The video is very sad and graphic).

It Just Makes GOOD SENSE 

The Environment

Appleton Waste Services is committed to protecting the environment and reducing waste. Wherever possible, Appleton Waste Services promotes the efficient use of energy and natural resources, innovative solutions to reduce pollutants and exercise environmentally safe disposal methods. To this end, Appleton Waste Services:

• Routinely assesses the impact that its activities have on the locations where it operates, its generation of pollution and waste, as well as its impact on natural habitats.

• Implements programs based on a sustainability perspective to assess, avoid, reduce, and mitigate the environmental risk and impacts of its activities.

• Follows the principles of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle as the primary initiative to support our environmental responsibilities.