It is that time of year again when I write to remind you that we need to say "No" to the plastic straw. Each year at the end of February I post a reminder that we have alternatives to the plastic straw. I send out this information in honor of National Skip the Straw Day which was established in 2017 according to the National Days Calendar. and is observed each year on the last Friday in February.

Since I have started skipping the straw about 2 years ago I have notice that more practical alternatives to the plastic straw have surfaced all over the Hudson Valley. When I first started my dedication to this cause the two main alternative to the plastic straws were the paper straw or one of those reusable stainless steel models.

I have never been a fan of the paper straw because yes, they do get soggy. The stainless steel straw looks like it woyud be to much work and with all my metal fillings a metal straw is a recipe for disaster. It was probably just over a year ago now but I finally found my answer to the plastic straw, the Corn Starch Straw. They are sturdy like plastic but they are bio-degradable which means they will eventually decompose unlike the plastic straw.

Every time I write on this topic someone will response to me by saying that some people need a straw due to a disability and that I am out of line to ask someone to say no to the straw when they need one in order to be able to enjoy even a simple glass of water. My response to that is I am not saying, No to all straws, just the plastic ones.

An organization I found online called Our Last Straw shared some startling statistics in 2018 that I want to share with you. Hopefully over the last two years things have improved. They claim that we use millions of single-use plastic straws everyday in the United States. The plastic straw is also one of the top 10 contributors to plastic in our oceans. They estimate that there are some where between 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on the world's coastlines. In 2018 they estimated that plastic straws made up 99% of the $3 billion world wide drinking straw market. And sadly most recycling facilities can't recycle straws.

So this Friday (February 26, 2021) do your part, if you want a straw please use one that will recycle or decompose. Ask at your favorite drink stop there is a good chance they have already made the flip to non-plastic straws and you didn't even notice the difference. Check out the list of companies that stop using the plastic straw as far back as 2018 according to an article in The list includes companies as big as Starbucks and Disney.


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READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.


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