“I do not want to protect the environment, I want to help create a world where the environment doesn’t need protecting.”

I read this quote on internet and fell in love with it!! I truly believe that the greatest threat to the planet is our belief that someone else will protect it. In our busy lives we ignore the fact that small acts, when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world.

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in restaurants. Straws. Yep, straws. The waiter either automatically drops one in my glass of water or drops wrapped straws on the table when they leave the drinks. You’d think the latter wouldn’t be a big deal, figuring they’ll just use them elsewhere if I don’t use them, But at least in one case those straws were thrown away as if they had been opened and used.

Throwing those little plastic straws away doesn’t seem like a big deal, and maybe in the big scheme of things it’s not. But that fits into the can-I-get-greener game I love to play — avoiding every little bit of waste.

The last time I got a straw with my water without ice I mentioned to My Bigger Half how frustrating that is. We slipped into our separate thoughts — mine being about how wasteful such practices are. After a few moments I asked him if he remembered paper straws. Naturally he had just been pondering that bit of history and was about to ask me the same question (we do that a kit, “read” each other minds).

Did you know straws have been made of straw (heh, that’s coincidental!), metal, and glass. The paper straw was invented in 1888, and still available, So, why don’t we see it in use much, if at all?

Plastic straws can be reused, thought they aren’t in the US. In Uganda straws are collected from trash, cleaned, and then woven into mats and bags. That’s pretty cool. But, in western society they just become a contribution to landfills, and another demand on petroleum resources. Polypropylene is in favour over polystyrene for various reasons, and can be made into a variety of styles and of various colours.

What intrigues me about this topic  is that even passionately environmental people use plastic straws with seemingly no thought. I do have one friend who reuses his straw, probably too long since it gets black inside before he gets a new one. And he’s not even an environmentalist!

All right, I do have a confession. On the rare occasion I treat myself to a milk shake I do use a straw, maybe even two. But now that I know I can get paper straws maybe I’ll plan ahead and bring my own straw. Hmmmm….

My new drink request is now going to be water with ice and no straw. Ok, I found another way even being greener.

We have used plastic straws your entire life and they are everywhere. We get it in our juice, we get it with our coffee, our cocktail and every single waitress hands you one with your dinner at a restaurant. Straws are skinny and we use them blissfully ignorant of their existence in our lives. Also it is not a big chunk of plastic. However let’s do s little bit of math.

I am Smartforfuture… Are you?