Everybody sucks, or has at least sucked at some point. The problem is that we suck because we’re sucking on plastic straws. We suck so much that we use and toss an estimated 500 million plastic straws every single day, and that waste is hurting wildlife and the environment.
Sadly, much of that waste makes its way into the ocean, where it poses a serious threat to marine life. A video made by researchers in 2015 that showed them removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose really drove home that point, but we’re still sucking, and the problem is only going to get worse if we don’t stop.
That’s why this September, actor Adrian Grenier’s organization the Lonely Whale Foundation will be bringing a campaign to Seattle, Wash., to get people to stop sucking on plastic straws.
The campaign is part of the organization’s Strawless Ocean initiative, which is urging everyone from individuals to businesses to ditch plastic straws, and either go straw-free, or switch to reusable alternatives.
“We are living during a critical turning point for our ocean, and that’s why I’m excited to celebrate the city of Seattle as a true ocean health leader,” said Grenier. “Alongside Lonely Whale Foundation, Seattle’s citywide commitment demonstrates our collective strength to create measurable impact and address the global ocean plastic pollution crisis. We are starting in Seattle with the plastic straw and see no limits if we combine forces to solve this global issue.”
Although straws are small, and some are recyclable, they’re slipping through the cracks, and they add up. Those 500 million straws come out to about 12 million pounds of plastic waste every year. As the organization notes, the problem is already big and if we don’t take action now, there is expected to be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
The campaign might not wipe every single straw out of Seattle, but it will hopefully help raise awareness about the issue and have a big impact by getting people to switch, and to rethink using such an unnecessary item. Maybe it’s using a little bit of humor to help the campaign catch on, but it seems to be working. People are already accepting the challenge, and dozens of major businesses have pledged to eliminate plastic straws from their facilities for the month, with some going even further.
While the campaign is focused on Seattle for the month of September, people everywhere are invited to participate and make this an everyday thing everywhere by taking the pledge to #StopSucking.
For more on how to get involved and alternatives to single-use plastic straws, check out the Lonely Whale Foundation and its Strawless Ocean campaign, and sign the Care2 petition asking McDonalds to stop giving out plastic straws.