Thursday, 8 January 2009

Week 1 - Plastic Straws

I thought I'd start with an easy item? My younger daughter loves plastic straws. This week's rubbish contained two of them, one red and one yellow. I bought two packs (the others are blue and green) from Ikea some time ago now and she's been steadily working her way through them ever since. There can't be many left now.

They're easy because they're quite unnecessary - or at least they are to me. But she likes them. And suddenly it's not so easy.

If I lived on my own it would be so much easier to avoid waste. But I have a husband and two teenage daughters and although, as chief shopper and cook, I control most of what we buy and eat, it's only right that I take my family's wishes into consideration, even those involving plastic! There are some things I just won't buy, some that are open to negotiation and others to which I reluctantly give in.

But to return to the straws, there are 3 options:
  1. refuse to buy any more and let her learn to live without them
  2. buy a reuseable plastic straw
  3. get her to buy her own

I think I'll go for no 2.

Weekly Weigh-In = 385 g

PS Mrs A is hosting the Carnival of Trash at The The Rubbish Diet today. Well worth a visit!



LOL I know just how you feel about plastic straws. I try and avoid them when I can, then this week my four year old wandered off in a cafe while I was busy paying and quickly opened up 3 to drink his hot chocolate (aarrrgh)! At home we've got reusable ones at home, twirly curly ones which are lovely, but I dare not use them with mild :-D

Layla said...

Do reusable plastic straws exist?

As I was little, sister and I had a bunch.. They were not really 'reusable' (or marketed as such) but they were very pretty 6 quite durable...

There is one thing though: ALWAYS wash the reusable plastic straws WELL!! :))
/We didn't.. so much.. and, uhm, worms got into them!! after a couple of months, or a year or so.. methinks.. It's a long ago, I don't remember!! lol :)/
But they really were reusable.. (before the worms) Basically the same you get in inns or cafes or bars now.. but don't chew them.. (if you chew them they're not really reusable anymore!!:))

Cousin Yellowstone said...

I'm in the same boat as you, wanting to cut down on waste but also not wanting to upset my family. I remember all too well the resentment I had towards my mother when she changed the rules about what foods she would buy for the family, and don't want to generate that kind of resentment. I decided to continue buying whatever I'm asked me to buy, but assuage my guilt by contacting the manufacturers of the offending products to ask that they change their practices to be less harmful to the environment. I also encourage the family members who consume the products in question to phone the companies themselves. Even if they never get around to making the phone calls, this gets them thinking about what arguments they want to make, and they can end up convincing themselves that a particular product is too harmful to the environment to be worth purchasing.

Even when products are inherently bad for the environment and can't be fixed, I still contact the manufacturers to ask that they use packaging that's better for the environment. For example, I recently contacted the Coca-Cola Company about using recycled content in the cardboard cases its cans of soda are packaged in. Whether the company will ever change its ways is questionable, but discussion of the information obtained from the company has already had an impact on my family.

By the way, a man in California makes glass straws which were given a positive review by Fake Plastic Fish. As a lifelong fidgeter who always felt that the whole point of a straw was to have something flexible to bend into weird shapes while drinking, I don't see the appeal of glass straws, but apparently they appeal to at least some people.

just Gai said...

I remember those curly wurly straws Mrs A. But you're right. you have to be careful what you drink with them as they're tricky to clean.

Reuseable plastic straws do exist Layla. Thanks for the tip about washing them thoroughly and not chewing them. Those worms sound gruesome!

just Gai said...

Good to hear from you again Cousin Yellowstone. You're right about avoiding resentment as it's usually counterproductive. I love your ideas for encouraging debate and taking personal resonsibility. Writing to companies is a useful excercise and one I hope to be adopting as I trawl through my rubbish.

As for the glass straws. They're amazing - and they come with a free brush! - and you can buy colourful cosies to carry them around in!! Absolutely brill!!! Shame they're not available locally.

Holly Cottingham said...

Hi there,

Just randomly found your blog whilst searching for the impact of plastic straws. I see you are looking for an alternative? I have recently bought some of these wonderful Bamboo straws from Kopnoi (made in Laos). They're only $15 for a pack and with free shipping to anywhere in the world! I definitely recommend them.

just Gai said...

Hello Holly. Thanks for the link to the bamboo straws. They look very classy. I also had a look around your blog and found some interesting stuff. I'll be back.

Layla said...

Great to know of the glass & bamboo alternatives!! - very interesting!! never heard of them before!

I wonder how they 'do' in practice? (not that I use straws much.. they're interesting though!! for people who really like them..)