By Mariah Faszczewski, Potter Park Zoological Society, Education Intern
For many years our guests have expressed a desire to have drinking straws in the zoo. Potter Park Zoo now offers paper straws for .25 cents and all proceeds go toward conservation. There are many reasons we did not offer plastic straws in the past.
• Single use plastic like drinking straws are harmful to the environment, oceans and the health of humans and animals.
• Straws are not biodegradable, but the plastic photo degrades meaning it gets smaller and becomes easier for marine and land animals to unintentionally ingest or intentionally ingest when mistaken for food.
• There are 500 million used and discarded every day in the United States alone. In one year, 175 billion will end up in landfills and litter our waterways and oceans.
• Americans consume enough straws to fill Yankee Stadium more than nine times a year.
• Straws are light in weight and can end up just about anywhere the wind blows. \Many straws end up on beaches. Straws are one of the top ten items picked up on beach cleanups worldwide.
How can you help?
- Join thousands of other people as they eliminate the use of plastic drinking straws.
- Always request no straw when placing your drink order at a restaurant. It can even help to write or talk to the manager of your favorite restaurant and ask that they only give straws upon request.
- Ask restaurants to consider switching to straws that are compostable or reusable instead of plastic or get rid of them entirely.
- Strawfree.org sells reusable bamboo straws online. They can be bought, one for $1.50 or a variety of straw sizes for $14. A cleaner for the straws is only $1. They are easy to carry around and you can leave one at work or in your car.
- Visit http://thelastplasticstraw.org for additional information.