“EkoDvizh” or Why it is better to leave plastic straws in the past
Imagine: you are walking in your favorite coffeeshop to get a cup of warm latte. Like every morning, you are in a rush, so you get a coffee “to-go”. This starter pack consists of a paper cup, s plastic cap, and a plastic straw – what else could you possibly need for comfort?
In your opinion, does the temporary feeling of comfort, while drinking latte and scrolling through the Instagram feed, worth the environmental damage?
I, Anastasiia Malenko, the organizer of the EkoDvizh project, asked myself this question at the beginning of 2019. This was the moment when I started leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle. The first steps were using eco-bags and reusable cups. Why? Why not? Things with the affix “eco-” became trendy, I’ve heard about the responsible use of plastic, and the effects of global climate change pushed me to revise some of my habits.
One of those habits was using plastic straws in coffeeshops. If I heard about the harmful effects of plastic caps and cups, the straws went right past my radar. When ordering a drink “to-go”, I could get a straw, when staying in the coffeeshop, the straw was brought to me. I was glad: it is all so convenient. It was an autopilot action. One day, I realized that I will be just fine without a straw. Yes, it is that simple. All the dots connected into a single decision. Latte tastes better when you drink it from the reusable cup and the metal spoon didn’t let me miss even a single drop of the tasty foam. Now, the straw was not a convenience, it was an excess.
Even if I didn’t touch the straw that was brought to me in the coffeeshop, it would still go straight to trash. When ordering s drink “to-go”, I at least had a choice. When staying in the coffeeshop, that choice was taken away from me.Then, I started asking for drinks without straws. At the very beginning, my requests were ignored. Maybe I didn’t speak loud enough, or the waiters simply didn’t care. I persisted with my requests. On a beautiful sunny day, I received the long-awaited order. “Latte without a straw”.
I keep reminding even now: to myself, to waiters, and to other visitors. This was the birth of “EkoDvizh”. The team of the national project “Agents of Volunteering” and NGO “Ukrainian Volunteer Service” in Cherkasy decided to help the citizens get rid of the plastic straws. We created posters ( https://drive.google.com/drive/u/3/folders/1VrUmS5gKZqQgcVox9N0mcpe9y1AvrHfe ) to share in the local coffeeshops. By doing so, we want to raise awareness about the responsible use of plastic in our daily lives. Maybe just a brief look on the poster, a short reminder will be enough for a smile or a decision to let go of the plastic straws.
And there are a lot of reasons to let go. Aside from the difficulties with recycling, straws are harmful to our health. The chemicals in the straws (polypropylene and bisphenol A) are toxic for humans, especially when they are heated with the hot drink in the cup.
Follow our activities using the hashtag in social networks: #екодвіж, #ekodvizh. Also, join the movement and the next time you order a drink, ask for it “without a straw”.
“Agent of Volunteering” representative in Cherkasy, Anastasiia Malenko.