You’ve just got your metal straws. You got it because your colleagues at work haven’t stop raving about this trendy new method to reduce plastic waste. Thinking that adopting this new habit and staple in the eco-friendly living starter pack might be a good idea, you search for the easiest way to get your metal straws on the world wide web. Keying your credit card information and then hitting order on the free shipping internet store, you have just unwittingly contributed to 2.8 billion pounds of toxic waste from mining metal, 20% of marine litter from international shipping and over 2 million tonnes of waste from packaging. Metal straws do not seem to make us as environmentally friendly as we thought, but before you freak out about what you should do with your new purchase just yet, we can still be as environmentally friendly as we have set out to be if we just keep a few things in mind.
With places like KFC recently terminating its provision of plastic caps and straws for its drinks, it is no wonder that the appeal of metal straws have been more alluring than ever. A recent The Straits Times news article reported that 1.76 billion plastic are used in Singapore yearly, but fewer than 20 per cent of these are recycled. To combat the impending prevalence of plastic waste, metal straws have been advertised to be a good alternative to the disposable plastic straw, touting on its reusability. However, just like any other product made from natural or anthropogenic resources, metal straws come at an environmental cost. While little research has been done about the positive impacts of making the switch to metal straws, much has been looked into about the environmental repercussions of reusable shopping bags, which is similarly advocated for its ability to be used more than once.