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Green Living Tip: Avoid Drinking Straws

If you're interested in green living, try to remember to stop drinking out of a straw. Drinking straws are bad for the environment — first because the plastic straw, itself, doesn't biodegrade; and, second, each straw usually comes wrapped in wasteful paper.

If you go to most any restaurant and order a soda, juice, or water and before you can say “bottom’s up,” your drink is served, often with paper already removed and straw sunk deep in your beverage. Many people are pretty good at remembering their own reusable bags when they shop, and at restaurants, many people reject the polystyrene to-go containers. However, few people give straws a second thought.

The drinking straw, in fact, seems to serve no purpose. It can’t be a matter of hygiene: Drinking through a straw isn’t going to prevent you from vacuuming down bacteria transferred from glass to fluid. When did people become reliant on drinking aids to consume beverages? Aren’t our mouths perfectly capable of latching onto the edge of a glass and downing the liquid?

You can start demanding your drinks without a straw. With waiters, baristas, and fast food clerks all so accustomed to special-order requests, from “double-shot, extra foam” latte to “lemon-slice, no-ice” diet cola, how hard could it be to fill your ”no-straw” iced-tea order?

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