January 6 – For the Love of God, Save That Straw!

Floating Garbage
Garbage covers the surface of the ocean near Antarctica. Beautiful, isn’t it?

I work at an independent bookstore. One day I asked a customer if he needed a bag. This is my practice, you see…I don’t automatically offer, and I don’t ask if they WANT a bag. Do they NEED one? I hope this makes them think.

You see, I have seen (thank you Google Earth) the AWFUL floating garbage mass near Antarctica, made of man’s unthinking discards of plastic. And I don’t want to add to it.

Most of our customers at the bookstore are educated, liberal, recycling folks who refuse a bag unless they absolutely DO need one.

Brazil coastline pollution
Just some lovely crap that’s washed up on the beach in Brazil. Kind of makes you want to sunbathe, no?

This man not only did so, he asked me if I were aware of the statistics on plastic straws. I was not. He told me that 500 million straws are used and discarded in the United States…every day! Think about that. We discard enough plastic straws to fill Yankee Stadium 9 times per year. And most of that (80%) ends up in the ocean.

Daddy, why did the dolphins die? Well son, I just had to have a plastic straw. REALLY?!!!

The Sipping Point

I didn’t invent this phrase, I only wish I did. An homage to Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point book, you see. The website The Last Plastic Straw Dot Org, has some ideas for you. I have one too.

When I lived in Japan, many Japanese carried a pencil case around with them. This pencil case (usually Bert & Ernie or Hello Kitty, somewhat baffling in grown adults) was used to house their chopsticks. That way, they didn’t have to use disposable wood or plastic chopsticks every time they ate out. They were recycling in their own way.

Well, I bought a pencil case. (Plain yellow, thanks. Fond as I am of Sesame Street.) And I’m carrying my straw in it. Do you think you could do the same? Nemo and Dory say thanks.


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