Monaco committed to reducing plastic pollution one straw at a time!

Say NO to Plastics!

From January 1, 2019, the Monaco Government has decided to ban plastic straws and sticks mixed with plastic. Consumers are encouraged to substitute them by those made of bamboo, metal, or other ecofriendly material. Straws and sticks alone will not solve the plastic pollution as straws are just the tip of the trash mound, but banning them is a good start for a much needed behavioral change! It’s time to ditch all kinds of plastic.

The process for the reduction of plastic started in the Principality back in 2016 with the banning of single use plastic bags to wrap merchandise. The eco-compatible bags must be composed of biodegradable materials with the percentage augmenting progressively to reach 60% in 2025.

Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, Minister for Infrastracture, environment and urbanism reminds that: “the reduction of plastic waste is a major issue for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) because they represent around 11% of tonnages and 80% of greenhouse gas emissions caused by their incineration”,stating that “plastic is also responsible for 75% of the oceans pollution and under the form of micro particles with adverse effects to the ecosystem.  It is a major issue for the preservation of marine biodiversity.”

In 2015, plastic consumption worldwide totaled 300 million metric tons, that means that for each one of the world’s 7.6 billion humans, we are producing 88 pounds of plastic a year, and the plastic industry keeps growing with flexible plastics leading the pack.

Since 2014, the Environment Department created the movement “Committed Commerce” to promote eco-responsible practices at the production level, businesses and consumers in the Principality. This label counts today with 67 shops distributed in the ensemble of neighborhoods.

In 2019, The Environment Department will launch “Committed Restaurant”, targeting specifically restaurants and establishments proposing takeaway, which will benefit with assistance to remove single use plastic utensils and packaging.

From January 1, 2020 the plastic banning will be extended to Q-tips, plates, cups, glasses and disposable cutlery.

Reusable Straws options

So next time you order a coke or juice-infused tea, proudly skip the plastic-wrapped plastic straws and use your own reusable straw. Whether it is a stainless steel, glass or bamboo straw, these options force us to regain control over our mindless slurping habit. Old habits diehard and creating new ones is not an easy task, but it is worth making the effort.

There are pros and cons for the most common reusable straw materials: stainless steel, glass or bamboo, to name a few.

First, let ask ourselves why do we need to use straws. Undoubtedly, using them is more hygienic in restaurants, and they also protect your teeth from swimming in coffee and juice that is harmful to your enamel. But, please avoid drinking through a straw for 24 hours after a tooth has been pulled because it can unseat the clot and make you more susceptible to a dry socket. … The sucking action that occurs when a straw is used may loosen the blood clot that forms in the tooth socket after an extraction. However, cheap plastic straws may leak heavy metal and plasticizer, making them bad for our health and terribly damaging for the environment. So better to get rid of them altogether!

As for metal straws, stainless or steel straws, we see them everywhere, and some are cheaper than others. Metal straws will not degrade over time leaching a metallic taste into drinks. Metal straws do not leach Bisphenol A (BPA) into your drinks, they will not bend or break

They come in Medical grade or food grade, so you need to do a good search before buying them. Stainless steel is the most basic durable material that resists oxidation and corrosion. Made of food grade material, a 304 stainless steel straw  is a safe and affordable option to drink out of. However, it’s not as resistant to heat and scratches along with the sulfuric and fatty acids from food and drinks when compared to the safer, pricier 316L medical grade stainless steel  straw.

Metal transfers heat, so sipping scalding coffee could scald your lips. They are also strong and hard, so some people could be worried about chipping their teeth, specially those who have the habit of chewing their straws. The solution to these issues could be stainless-steel straws with silicone tips.

Handmade reusable glass straws are eco-friendly and they come with organic hemp/flax seed sleeves to protect them, as well as a cleaning brush. Those made from Pyrex glass are shatter and break resistant. (Photo insert: Glass Straws and cleaning brush)

whole, bamboo straws are of then the cheapest option, they are safe when compared to glass and stainless steel. However, unlike glass and metal, bamboo straws do have a limited lifespan, especially if they are not finished or cured. When you are done with them, all you have to do is stick them in the woods and walk away, that’s how renewable they are.

Good luck in your search to find the straw that is perfect for your needs, but for sure make a commitment to say NO to plastic straws!

Today’s Quote

Ban Plastics for a Better Future!

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