Straws are made from a petroleum-based plastic called polypropylene. Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer used for many different purposes including plastic, packaging, textiles, stationery, etc. Petroleum plastics can last forever and isn’t bio-degradable. Plastic is only degrading into small pieces, but it never completely biodegrades. That means that every piece of plastic ever made will forever stay on earth.
According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, “Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, including the small amount that has been incinerated and has become toxic particulate matter.”
Petroleum plastic is extracted from gas and oil, which is the same thing that fuels our vehicles. More plastic straws mean more gas and oil extraction. Gas and oil extraction lead to more energy consumption, use of resources and, as a consequence, more dangerous pollution.
Straws are made of bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is an industrial chemical used for the production of plastics, and it cannot be recycled. Researchers have shown that BPA can contribute to different types of cancers, early puberty, and infertility.
Phthalates are chemical plasticizers that are used to soften plastics. They have a negative effect on hormones and interrupt their production.