Photo: Down to Earth Sandwiches and Drinks

Have you heard the exciting news?? We are jumping on the “No Plastic Straws” train and phasing out plastic straws in all our stores!

Plastic straws are getting more attention in the media lately because of their ubiquitous damage to oceans and marine life. This year’s Ocean Conservancy Report listed straws as the top third most commonly found plastic item along the world’s shorelines. As estimated in Hawaii Senate Bill SB2285, in the United States alone, a shocking 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded each day. That’s enough straws to circle the planet two and a half times every day!

We are tuned in to the severity of this issue, which is why we are presenting you with eco-friendly alternatives in all our stores that are as good as, or better than the dated and damaging plastic straw. Starting in November, we will have Hawaii Eco Straws available at every store for free with an option to donate. Hawaii Eco Straws has given away more than 140,000 metal straws to reduce the need for plastic straws and we are excited to partner with them in the fight for our planet.

We will also continue to have paper straws available in our Delis to meet the demand for disposable, eco-friendly straws. Made from renewable resources, paper has a major advantage to plastic in that it is biodegradable. One paper straw can last up to three hours in an ice-cold drink, but it will break down in 6 months if left in saltwater, and even faster if it’s composted.

If you’re looking to buy a straw to carry around in your purse or pocket, our Natural Living Departments can help you out with a varied selection of bamboo, glass, and metal straws for purchase. Bamboo is an almost perfect material for making eco-friendly straws because it’s biodegradable, naturally antibacterial, and sustainably harvested. Glass straws are surprisingly sturdy, smooth, and being able to see through the glass makes them easy to clean. Metal straws are durable and have a sleek, elegant look.

Another simple step to cut down on plastic waste is not to use a straw if you don’t need one. Every time you refuse a plastic straw, you bring awareness to the person who offered it to you – it’s an easy way to be an environmental activist without having to chain yourself to a tree.

Having said that, straws are something that most of us do interact with in our daily lives – it’s our hope that the extinction of plastic straws in our stores can transition into a more meaningful conversation about keeping plastics out of our oceans and saving our marine life. The “No Plastic Straw” movement is sweeping the nation, but it’s only one small piece of the planet-preserving puzzle. We all need to do our part in finding solutions to have a serious positive impact on reducing waste.