The global fight against single use plastic

How “straw bans” are changing our environmental outlook

Art Boettge, staff writer

Every year, hundreds of thousands of seabirds and other marine life ingest dangerous plastics that are floating in the ocean. According to the EPA, because plastic is so durable, every single bit of plastic ever made since it was invented in 1907, is still currently intact. Also, many large fossil-fuel companies plan to increase plastic production in the coming years.

On Sept. 20, the state of California issued a law that “prohibits dine-in restaurants from automatically providing plastic straws,” according to a statement from California Governor Jerry Brown. Many people, however, believe that this straw ban will not have enough of an impact on the environment due to straws being such a small amount of plastic in the ocean. Additionally, fast-food companies (who are often the largest source of plastic straws) are not prohibited from giving straws to their customers.

California is not the only place involved in reducing the impact of single-use plastics. The city of Seattle has already imposed a ban on plastic utensils, Taiwan vows to remove all straws from their native islands, Queen Elizabeth promised to remove all single-use plastic from her palaces, and huge companies like Starbucks and American Airlines plan to reduce their plastic footprint in the coming years.

This movement is all a part of a larger movement to motivate people and consumers all around the world to be more conscious of their impact on our fragile oceans, which according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are currently estimated to be around 80% polluted or filled with plastics.

For this reason, it is clear that more governments, localities, and companies may need to enforce a higher restriction on the usage of plastics. The ban on plastic straws in California will go into effect in 2019, and many professional environmentalists predict that the ban may not have the most profound impacts on actually reducing plastic. The ban will still put California as a trendsetter to hopefully influence other states and to make consumers more conscious of their effect on the environment. For now, it’s just as important for people in Edina to remain conscious of what impact using straws or other single-use plastic, like cups, lids, or utensils might have on their community and the entire planet.