This year Californians have faced that awkward moment when the waitress returns to the table with a drink order and a decision needs to be made on whether to ask for a straw or drink directly from the cup.  Many people are seen leaning in to the waitress with some shame to whisper their desire for this straw that has now become the most recognized villain in the global fight against plastic waste.  This unusual encounter at restaurants started this year when California become the first to enact a statewide law restricting the use of plastic straws, banning full-service restaurants from automatically giving them to customers.


In 2018, Seattle became the largest U.S. city to ban plastic straws, which helped push the state of California to pass this law that is now continuing to pop up as proposed bills in many other states.  These efforts by government doesn’t only live in the U.S., with many countries around the world making the same commitment to implement this ban by the end of the year.  This conscious effort to eliminate the plastic straws from our daily lives is also being addressed by many of the top companies around the world with Starbucks and Alaska Airlines leading the way with plans to phase them out of their inventory over the next few years.



The plastic straw has been pushed to the forefront of environmental awareness against a growing plastic epidemic filling our oceans at an alarming rate. Although an unneeded convenience item for most people, just one straw seems fairly harmless when having your favorite iced coffee on a hot summer day.  The problem is that one straw from the coffee shop around the corner contributes to the estimated 500 million straws used and discarded every day in the United States alone.  This daily use of straws adds up to 175 billion a year that either make a home in our landfills or find their way to our beaches and oceans. 


The easy question asked by many is why aren’t these straws recycled like other plastic items we use?  The unfortunate uniqueness about straws in the recycling process is most are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical sorters, but instead drop right through the sorters to mix in with other items disposed as garbage.  If the straws make it to the oceans they don’t biodegrade, but instead they eventually break down in to tiny micro-plastics that cause major damage to our marine life.


“It is projected that by 2050, 99% of all sea bird species will have ingested plastic”




There are many organizations that have formed in the last few years to directly address the plastic waste problem, with a few specifically targeting these menacing straws.  Eliminating this waste will take many years, so the importance of educating people on the challenges caused by the waste is just as important to change social habits contributing to this issue.  Compostable straw options are starting to be used as a replacement, but they aren’t as green as initially thought.  These compostable straws are designed to break down in proper facilities and not in sea water, which poses the same threat to sea animals.  


The best alternative to drastically alter the affects these straws are causing to our environment is by simply saying “no” to the options offered to us when dining at your favorite restaurant or picking up a quick meal at the fast food chain around the corner.  The idea of saying “no” shouldn’t seem strange since most of us don’t even use a straw when eating home cooked meals, but we’ve gotten so used to demanding a straw when out to eat.  If it is absolutely necessary to have a straw, at Hey Dude we’ve added the option to purchase stainless steel straw kits as a reusable alternative.  Although it might seem tedious at first, integrating these stainless straws in your routine will drastically cut in to the use of straws ruining our planet and help you avoid the shameful looks from others when you ask for a straw from the waitress.


For a limited time, we will provide you a free stainless-steel straw kit whenever you purchase two or more shoes from our Eco-Knit Collection made from plastic material collected from our oceans. 


To shop for these eco-friendly shoes, click here.


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