Paper VS. Plastic Straws


ft. Conner Lynch and Seth Poindexter

Sharline Vanpelt, Reporter

Plastic straws became an environmental hazard after an uploaded video of a sea turtle with a straw inside its naval cavity, in which the straw blocked airflow went viral, the video received 9,316,263 views. This brought the danger of plastic straws to the public’s attention. It also brought the phrase “Save the turtles” raising awareness of plastic straw dangers. According to social media, this phrase is turned into a joke among teens. Even though people joke about feeding turtles straws, people forget the major impact they have on the environment.
Plastic straws contribute a great amount of plastic build up into the worlds landfills and wildlife habitats. In an article by Rick LeBlanc from The balance 2019 he says, “The average plastic product takes 1000 years to decompose”.
“Plastic straws have increased pollution in the environment,” says senior, Rayleigh House, who owns a reusable straw.
A more biodegradable alternative is paper straws. Paper products, LeBlanc, says “Decomposes in two to six weeks”. If an estimate of four weeks were needed to decompose a paper straw, then approximately 83 paper straws will decompose for every one decomposed plastic straw. Students, however still have mixed feelings regarding both plastic and paper straws.
Senior, Jake Reid, who supports the use of paper straws says, “We could use paper straws instead. Paper straws would be just as cheap and they decompose a lot faster”.
Not all students share the same opinion, broadcast student, Adriana Parra, says, “If your drinking out of a paper straw for so long it will become limp, and I just don’t like that”.
However, all students support the eco-friendly but costly reusable straw.
“This should be a concern because it is affecting the reduce, reuse, and recycle motto. With the straws, you do not have to throw away a straw.” House, says commenting on her metal straw.
“Reusable straws are kinda cool and it’s good to know you’re saving money and animals by using it each time you drink something,” Reid, says about his reusable straw.
Adriana Parra, who does not own a straw says, “The metal straws are a good idea, I do believe the metal straws are good”.
Eco friendly paper straws degrade easily possibly even inside your drink. Plastic straws endanger wildlife, and impose on waste build up, provide more threatening problems . However, both will continue as a problem unless people collectively decide on a better solution.