It’s just a straw, but it doesn’t have to be the last one to protect the planet – AZCentral

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We were in line at the concession stand at the movie theater when my two friends pulled reusable straws from their purses.

Niki, whose telescoping straw came in a small case, said she got it after she cleaned out her car of all the paper wrappers from straws and realized how many she used. 

Rhonda stopped buying plastic water bottles and bought a reusable stainless steel straw because actor Jason Momoa, who played Aquaman, posted on social media that people should stop using so much plastic because it winds up in the ocean.

Rhonda would do anything for Aquaman.

I suddenly felt responsible for every sea turtle with a plastic drinking straw stuck up its nostril. 

I could carry my own straw, I decided. I had one at home, a gift from a friend.

After a week of carrying the thing, I learned diet Coke tastes better through stainless steel, and using my own straw gave me the same guilt-free satisfaction as when I remember to bring my reusable bags into the grocery store.

I found myself reading about plastic in the ocean. It’s not just turtles and other sea life that ends up ingesting plastic. It’s us, too. Plastic breaks down in the ocean and turns up in sea salt, shell fish and tap water. (Ew.)

I know straws are only a small portion of the plastic in the ocean. But it’s easy for me to say “no” to one. (Some people with mobility and medical issues can’t.)

And it made me think more often about what else I could do to lessen my impact on the environment. Carry a reusable drink bottle. Use containers with lids instead of Ziploc bags. 

Sometimes I leave the straw behind, drying on a tea towel next to the kitchen sink. On those days, I opt not to use a straw at all.

Diet Coke tasted even better that way.

Reach Bland at [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @KarinaBland.

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