“It all began in 1888 when Marvin C. Stone created the first model of a modern drinking straw,” related Celia. “Then when Joseph Friedman invented the ‘bendy’ straw in 1937 things really began to take off. But it wasn’t until the 1960s with the development of cheap plastic drinking straws that Frankenstraw drew his first breath.
“Before that time people didn’t think twice about drinking any beverage the same way humankind has done since the dawn of civilization, by putting one’s lips to the cup. But single-use plastic straws were a novel and convenient way to cheaply enhance a drink. Soon straw dispensers were popping up at every drink service area. Beverage servers routinely dropped a straw into almost any type of drink and Frankenstraw’s influence spread across the globe.
“No one seemed to question the wisdom of using this insignificant item just one time and then tossing it into the trash. But now in the U.S., Frankenstraw has swelled to about 500 million straws (1.6 straws per person) each day! Iowa Co. alone throws away about 38,000 on a daily basis. Now Frankenstraw’s influence is EVERYWHERE, even in my poor little nose,” lamented Celia.
Bea Wiser carefully extracted the painful intruder* from Celia’s suffering nostril. “What can be done?” she asked Ms. Turtle.
“A lot actually,” Celia instructed. “First of all, humans need to simply ask for no straw when ordering a drink. Businesses need to add "Straws served upon request" notices in their menus. Some companies are already starting to develop eco-friendly drinking straws. When humans become aware of how wasteful and damaging these plastic projectiles are, Frankenstraw’s days will be numbered. Soon some clever manufacturing firm is going to make a bundle marketing the ‘latest thing’… biodegradable straws.
“Do you think the humans will actually change their ways?” Celia wondered.
“I hope so. They’re smart, and they really have to,” Bea Wiser (sighed). “Because this is the only home we’ll ever share with them. We’re here with them forever…Earthbound.”
*Actual footage - www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MPHbpmP6_I