Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. It implied that a tiny step for a man can be a giant leap for the whole of mankind. Of course, he was talking about the Moon landing. But considering the present condition our society is in, it could very well apply to us. With the continuous influx of pollutants into our environment, it is high time we take teeny tiny steps ourselves to some solution. It might go a long way towards helping the environment.
According to a report in 2016, 40 kg of plastic is produced for each of the 7 billion humans every year. It’s no mystery that it will grow. And because of that hundreds and thousands of marine animals continue to fall victim to gruesome deaths.
Plastics are non-biodegradable substances which take centuries to decompose. They clog the throats of marine animals leading to them choking and dying. They also contain harmful chemicals that make the soil infertile for future cultivation.
While plastic straws are not the main contributors to plastic pollution, Americans still use around 500 millions straws daily. And at least 8 billion plastic straws end up in beaches globally. Also, plastic straws do comprise 4% of the total plastic waste, which is not negligible.
And that’s why small changes tend to matter a lot.
In the Philippines, the manager of Café Editha in Surigao Del Norte, Sarah Tiu, has chosen to go down the non-plastic route. She never liked plastic anyway. At first, she tried using stainless straws and paper straws to replace plastic straws. Well – the customers weren’t fans of the alternatives. She had to find some other way.
When she went on a trip down to Corregidor Island, she found a way to transform her eco-friendly ideas into action, without causing dissatisfaction among customers. There she learned how to use natural products like cut lukay and fresh buko to make straws. Lukay is coconut fronds and leaves while buko is coconut juice.
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Once she learned to make these ‘natural’ straws, her idea was to implement it in her cafe. And she did so. The customers loved it. They started sharing the news, along with pictures, on social media. These straws were biodegradable, but the best part, they did not make any sounds and were leakproof. Customer satisfaction guaranteed!
The straws are easy to make and Tiu has shared pictures of these straws to encourage others to adopt them. She makes them with her workers’ assistance before the store opens in the morning.
IMAGE CREDIT: Cafe Editha