Wednesday, December 19

Story on Straws

Chris made a very good point that there's a big fuss many places about plastic straws, noting "With all the hullabaloo about plastic straws, why is no one ranting about the plastic cups that go with the straws ? Those cups plastic cups are bigger in volume than the plastic straws! Doesn't make sense."

Well, that prompted me to do a little MORE checking on the subject. As it turns out, in one sense he's completely and absolutely correct. The straws that you get with your cold Starbucks drink are made of the SAME KIND of plastic as the cups. #5 Plastic, to be exact. What's more, #5 Plastic is most often used for the caps to bottles that are made of #2 Plastic, which is the same stuff that is used for plastic bags.

For whatever reason, the waste company in North Texas accepts #5 Plastic, while the one in Ocean Shores does not. Checking a list of places that accept #5 Plastic, I find that the closest location to Ocean Shores that accepts bottle caps is 80 miles away. Luckily, in North Texas, I find there's a place only 9 miles away that accepts plastic caps. Whole Foods. Straws, however, are a pariah in the recycling business, being treated even worse than plastic bags. As I understand it, Whole Foods won't take straws, though they take the #5 cups.

There's a good discussion of the problem with plastic straws at Earth911, here. In a nutshell, in most cases, places that take the same kind of plastic as the straws won't take the straws. Go figure!

Actually, Earth911 is one of the best recycling web sites I've found. While their recycling locations are as out of date as many of the other sites, they have good discussions about things LIKE plastic straws. They even have articles about the finer points of dealing with old antifreeze, here. I was unaware that some antifreeze is much less toxic that other versions - a good thing to remember if you have young children around. If your young kids grow up without dying from drinking antifreeze, you can thank a blog for letting it happen!

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