Many things that are useful to people produce pollution. For example, cars release dangerous gases into the air. We use burning coal to create electricity produces toxic smoke into the air we breathe. We also produce garbage every day, which contain anything from food waste to harmful materials, such as plastics, electronics, cans, glass jars, etc. Humans have been using plastic straws for over 7,000 years. In 1960’s paper was replaced by plastic which brought plastic straws to the U.S. Humans have been using straws for centuries. Ancient Sumerians used straws they made straws from metal.
In 1888 a man named Marvin Stone had patented the first straw. He made straws from paper and by 1890 his company Stone Industrial were mass producing them. And finally in 1930 inventor Joseph Friedman had created the first bendy straw. He created this straw by inserting a screw in the straw and wrapping floss around the grooves of the straw to make indentations. This provides the straws ability to bend. We still use plastic straws today but we should make an effort to end the plastic crisis. Ever since plastic straws began to hit the market. More and more were being produced each year and more and more were being added to our landfills.
Plastic straws quickly began to become cheaper to produce and paper products slowly began to fade. More and more one use products were being made of plastics because of their durability and cheap cost Plastic straws are also bad for the environment because they never biodegrade, instead, they just break down into smaller pieces known as microplastics. Fish can consume these microplastics and it ends up in their fatty tissue which is a part of the animal that humans consume. So we could actually get sick through the fish we eat.
Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used in a day in the U.S. that enough to wrap around the earth’s circumference 2.5 times a day! And after use, they are being thrown away and ending up in the waste of plastic pollution. These plastic waste can get into the ocean and can be very harmful to marine life. Over one million sea animals die each year because they mistakenly eat plastic. If we do not change now, we will cause many harms to sea life. Yes plastic straws can be essential to some people with health issues that make it hard to drink directly from a cup.
Some people need plastic straws because they are very ill and cannot drink out of cups or people have tooth problems that make it hard to drink cold liquids. Seattle became the largest U.S. city to ban straws. Also many companies like Starbucks have banned plastic straws from use in their drinks. If we do not act now there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean! That is why I have come up with the idea of making a biodegradable straw using paper and biodegradable plastic. Biodegradable materials break down quickly and naturally become part of the environment without causing a long-term hazard for nature and very eco-friendly for the environment.
Many people might not like paper straws because they fall apart easily and people do not like the feel of paper in their mouth so I must create straws that will not only be practical, but strong enough to be submerged in liquid for a long period of time. My idea is to make a paper straw and dip it in a melted down biodegradable plastic made by using corn starch, glycerin, cooking oil, and water. The materials I will be using to make the bioplastic are all eco-friendly. In fact glycerin is used in food products as well as corn starch and cooking oil. The bioplastic will act as a coating for the paper straw to protect the paper from getting soggy and the coating will feel like your sucking on a plastic straw. Also adding food coloring to the bioplastic will give the straw a color so people can use them for themes and occasions.
To test the straw biodegradability I will have the straw sit out in the sun and every week record the mass of the straw to see if the straw is losing mass. By examining the straws mass I can determine if the straw is biodegradable. To test the durability of the straw I will observe the effectiveness of the straw after it is inserted in a liquid and compare it to a regular plastic straw. Yes not all of our landfill are consists of plastic straws in fact only 3% of our waste consists of plastic straws. But we can make an effort to end this plastic crisis bit by bit. At restaurants we can just simply refuse to use a plastic straw for our drink by doing this we prevent that straw from getting in the trash.
Not only does our plastic waste affect animals but it also affects us. Plastic never degrade they just simply break down into microplastics animals can easily consume these microplastics. The microplastics then get into the fatty tissue which humans consume. So if you are having fish for dinner there is a chance that you are consuming plastic. This is another factor of why we should be more cautious of where our plastic waste goes. Whether it is refusing to use straws at a restaurant or recycling anything helps to maintain a healthy ecosystem.