Recently, the “save the sea turtle” movement has changed Starbucks stores around the nation. Starbucks has stopped providing customers with plastic straws in their cold drinks. Michigan State University has followed in their footsteps, getting rid of plastic straws in Sparty’s convenience stores around campus and replacing them with paper ones.

Attention was brought to the dangers of plastic straws when Emma Rose Cohen and Miles Pepper pitched their company, “Final Straw” on the CNBC Show “Shark Tank”. When they went on the show, their company was valued at a mere $12,000. However as of Oct. 9, 2018, their current value is over $1.8 million. ( Although they didn’t make a deal with the infamous Sharks, they sparked a national uproar to decrease the usage of plastic straws.

Sparty’s in both Akers and Case Halls are now  giving students paper straws if they get a soft drink. This has resulted in varied reactions from students. Although I love the initiative that’s being taken to  save aquatic life, I can’t stand by the paper straws as a consumer. The structural integrity of the paper straws is lacking. After I left it in liquid (Coca-Cola) for over 10 minutes, the straw begins to lose its form and slowly disintegrates.

Many proponents of the “Ban Plastic Straws” movement have suggested the risks that come with paper straws as well. Instead, they advocate for no straws, or biodegradable ones. The biodegradable straws are made of starch based resins like corn and bamboo. These take approximately 180 days to fully decompose, rather than the 500 years that it takes for a plastic straws.

I’d encourage you all to take a stand in the great plastic debate. If you have any other ideas as to how to replace plastic straws in Sparty’s across campus, let MSU know! You can contact them by sending an email to https://eatatstate.msu.edu/contactus.

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