On the last Friday of every February National Skip the Straw Day is recognized, in 2022 it is the 25th of February. On average Americans use around 500 million straws per day, as indicated by the National Park Service. Straws are single-use plastic, which means that many of these end up in landfills. Due to plastic being lightweight, they often end up in our oceans, polluting them and harming wildlife. This day is used to recognize the consequences of single-use waste and other environmental issues. There are several ways you can help the environment and celebrate skip the straw day every day.
Tip 1: Re-usable Straws
There are several ways you can help skip the straw day, one is by not using a straw at all and the other is using reusable straws. There are several straws you can order online, many come with holders, so you can take your straws out and about with you. There are stainless steel straws, bamboo straws, silicone straws and there are even fancier glass straws. There is still a debate however on if stainless steel straws are any good for other reasons. I personally have a set of silicone straws and they even come with special squeegee brushes to clean the straws. The Save the Turtle initiative also sells silicone straws that come with a cleaning brush and holder, so you can take your straw with you like an AirPod case and 5% of the profits go towards Sea Turtle Conservancy.
Tip 2: Buy eco-friendly products
Making sure you buy products that can be recycled or are better for the environment is a great way to start. Although it does seem almost impossible to buy a product that doesn’t have some kind of plastic packaging now, the best thing you can do is try to buy products that have as little packaging as possible or recyclable packaging. Instead of using plastic carrier bags when you shop, you can also use paper bags or reusable shopping bags that last a long time and fit a lot more in. If you want to take it a step further, you can also try and avoid products that have unsustainable ingredients such as palm oil or other cosmetic ingredients.
Tip 3: Recycle
I think almost everyone is aware of recycling or the age-old phrase, reuse, reduce, recycle. But it really does make all the difference, if we all contribute by making sure things are recycled properly, we will reduce our worries about recyclable products going to landfills and eventually finding its way to the ocean or our cities or from harming wildlife. It also gives the products a chance to be turned into something new that can be recycled, there are even houses now that are being made out of recycled materials. There are loads of benefits to recycling that benefit our earth, wildlife, and us.
Tip 4: Reduce Waste
The average American produces 1704 pounds of garbage per year, which is roughly three times the global average. And as for food waste, the world wastes 1.4 billion tons every year, whilst the United States wastes nearly 40-80 billion tons per year. Why is this bad? Well, it produces an extreme amount of carbon emission into our environment when we burn all of our garbage, and food waste produces a ton of methane which then turns into carbon dioxide. All of this contributes to pollution and with contributing factors of deforestation, our carbon dioxide levels could have extreme consequences to our health. You can reduce waste by getting products that have little to no packaging, not overbuying things like clothes we don’t need, and food that we won’t eat before it expires.
Tip 5: Volunteer or Donate
If you want to take it that step further then you can also volunteer or donate to eco-friendly charities. There are several organizations you can volunteer for, each of them focusing on different environmental issues. Travel for Teens focuses on environmental sustainability and wildlife conservation and Volunteers for Peace also focuses on those, plus organic farming and historic preservation. There are also several organizations that do litter picking at beaches and parks or alternatively you can donate to places, like the Rainforest Alliance or WildAid. You can also pay for a tree to be planted, with the organization One Tree Planted.
Even if it is a small thing, anything you can do to help the environment makes a big change. It is important to help look after the environment for future generations but also because imagine how beautiful the world could be if we truly looked after it. Many images came out during the pandemic, showing how some places started to recover from the lack of people and how wonderful everything looked, with clean waters and emerging wildlife.