The fourth Friday of February is Skip the Straw Day. Thought up by a group of middle school students, the day was proposed in 2017. The concept is simple. Instead of using a disposable plastic straw, use an alternative. Or you can go straw-less and skip the straw!

Estimates suggest that 4% of ocean plastic is composed of disposable straws.


According to the Library of Congress blog, the straw first came about in 1888. Patented by Marvin Stone, his reasoning was simple. Rye grass stalks, the ‘straw’ of his time, left a residue in his glass.

Since then, straws have gone through a number of innovations. Bendy straws came about in the late 1930s after inventor Joseph B. Friedman watched his frustrated daughter trying to drink a milkshake with a straw.

Paper straws remained the most popular option until the late 1960s, when it became widely known that disposable plastic straws were easier to use. Though phased out by the early 1970s, paper straws have been making a comeback in recent years, due to their better perceived impact on the environment.


Most straws are single use plastics, meaning they get used once and are disposed. And while straws aren’t the only problem, they embody a bigger issue. About 18 billion tons of plastic enters our waters every year.

Some estimates suggest that Americans use 500 million plastic straws per year. That’s about one-and-a-half straws per person. Based on this info, that means an average person will use around 38000 straws in their lifetime. In addition, estimates show that around 4% of plastic found in the ocean are straws.

If that’s tough to swallow, don’t worry. It’s easy to do better!


If you’re looking for an alternative to disposable plastic straws, there are several options to consider.

Maybe the easiest and most effect choice is to go straw-less. You can skip the straw at home, and when dining out by requesting that a straw not be included with your drink.

Another choice is to change the straws you use. Instead of disposable plastic straws, you might try paper straws. Many feel they are a better choice than plastic, since paper breaks down.

Shungite and stainless steel reusable straw.
Shungite and stainless steel drinking straw.

Finally, one of the best choices is a reusable straw. Made of a material like silicone, hard plastic, or stainless steel, these straws can be washed and reused as often as you need!

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