Stop sucking. Seriously. Americans use 500 million straws every single day—that’s 1.6 straws per person. At this rate, each American will use a minimum of 38,000 straws between the ages of five and 65. The Lonely Whale Foundation, a nonprofit that serves to promote ocean health, is working to change that.
Lonely Whale’s straw initiative is two-fold: Its #stopsucking campaign is an ever-expanding social media challenge that, since its August launch, has debuted in 30 countries and in more than seven languages. Its other campaign, Strawless, aims to get cities to go plastic-straw-free for an entire month. In September 2017, more than 150 restaurants in Seattle, where the campaign kicked off, agreed to forgo straws, ultimately preventing 2.3 million single-use plastic straws from entering the waste stream. Like many small pieces of trash too often tossed onto the street, used straws often wash into storm drains during rainstorms and end up in rivers and other waterways that connect to our bays and oceans. Dune Ives, executive director of the Lonely Whale Foundation, anticipates that over the next calendar year, the Strawless initiative will keep a minimum of 12 million straws out of waterways.