I am more of a wine or beer drinker, so I don’t often get into a situation where I am staring at my drink going, "Oh s**t I forgot to ask for no straw". But I can be partial to the odd cocktail every now and then, especially when on holiday.
Straws are one of those unnecessary plastic disposable items that can’t be recycled. Some of the most powerful imagery I have seen highlighting the impact of plastic on the environment has involved straws - a great example of this is the video of a marine biologist pulling a straw out of a turtle’s nose, the last place we should be finding a straw. And because they are made from plastic, you can be sure that every straw you have ever used will be around for a very long time after it's been thrown in the bin.
One of my first frustrations with straws after starting down my path to a waste-free lifestyle was ordering a glass of water at a bar - as the bartender picked up the glass to hand it to me, he casually just threw in a plastic straw. Obviously, this was just normal for him, but I hope you all agree with me when I say you definitely don’t need a straw to drink a glass of water! Caught off guard and slightly annoyed at what I had just seen, I quickly said, “oh no, no straw” waving my hands in the air with a look of distress on my face. Looking at me in confusion the bartender whipped out the straw and threw it straight in the bin, the single-use item didn’t even get used. Fail.
One of my few plastic straw fails
After a few mishaps I finally got the knack of making sure I ask for no straw when ordering a drink, and nowadays I am also good at making sure anyone with me goes straw free as well. Yes, my friends get a very friendly reminder to say no to straws.
I have had people behind the bar look at me funny, mainly because they don’t understand why I am saying no. I have even had people confirm with me multiple times that I don’t want a straw (I later realised it’s because the drink came in a fish bowl-shaped glass with a narrow opening, not so easy and glamorous to drink from if you don’t have a straw). But staying true to my values, I powered through the awkwardness in an effort to avoid the use of a disposable straw.