500,000,000 straws GOING OUT!

Today the kids don’t eat at home. They go to their favorite restaurant and can’t wait to get the kids menu, some crayons and a puzzle to solve. Whoosh...! Before Frida even starts to draw the first picture the friendly waitress swings by with glasses of water for the adults and two styrofoam sippy cups for the kids. »Why don’t we get a glass like the grown-ups?« Theo wonders. »I’m having a grown-up sized burger (no cheese, no lettuce!) so I can have a grown-up glass of water, right?« »That’s true!« Mom says. »And I don’t need a plastic straw in my glass, either!«  Frida looks around and counts all straws in the restaurant.

More than 500,000,000 (five hundred million!) plastic straws are used once and thrown in the garbage in the US every day.

How many people live in the US again? ...That’s right, about 320,000,000. So do the math and think about how many are totally unnecessary.

Even more 000 are in the number of single used plastic bags and plastic bottles that get tossed every day. All these plastics are not recyclable and take more than 500 years to degrade.

Wool, paper, aluminum, glass and so many more materials - if not recycled or repurposed - don’t rot like organic waste and take different time to break down. Draw a line from the garbage to the time it would roughly take to disappear.    

After a few weeks Theo and Frida go out for dinner again. This time they brought there own brand new reusable metal straws and tell the nice waitress right away that they want a real glass with water. She smiles and explains that the restaurant also changes some of their habits. Only if customers ask for a straw they will get one. This already saves a lot of waste, energy and money!

Frida enjoys her cheese pizza and Theo works on his delicious grown-up veggie (!) burger but he is so full, he can’t finish it. »Let’s take the leftovers home.« Mom says and asks for a doggy bag/box. They leave the restaurant with a big smile on their faces because the little box they carry home is 100% compostable.

Take Action!

Count all straws you see in one week and tally them.    

1  - 10: not so bad!

have you only been to fancy



11  - 30: so/so..

there could have been some

avoidable, right?


31  - 50: that’s bad!

you should start showing off your

reusable straw


51 -100: aaaaaaahhhhhh

talk to every restaurant manager to

change this    


Take Action!

Draw a line from the garbage to the time it would roughly take to break down.    

1. Orange Peel

2. Paper Bag

3. Wool Sock

4. Aluminum Can

5. Apple Core

6. Plastic Bag

7. Glass Bottle

8. Milk Carton

9. Cardboard Box

10. Styrofoam Cup

11. Newspaper

12. Leather Shoe

13. Plastic Bottle

A)      About 3 Weeks

B)      About 1 Month

C)     About 2 Months

D)     About 4 Months

E)      About 5 Months

F)      About 1 Year

G)     About 5 Years

H)     About 20 Years

I)       About 40 Years

J)      Between 200 – 500 Years

K)      About 500 Years

L)      About 5,000 Years

M)     About a Million Years