This challenge is about axing two pointless little things from our lives that do way more harm than good.
1. Disposable drinking straws
2. Chewing gum
The problem with both of these little items is that they contain plastic. Everyone is probably aware by this point that single-use plastic is a giant problem for our environment. Straws and gum are a tiny factor in this issue, but they are so pointless that they seem easy items of single-use plastic to eliminate.
Your parents may have told you that chewing gum is a dirty habit. Turns out they were right - as they are about most things, annoyingly. Inside gum, you'll find:
Vinyl acetate - causes tumors
Butylated hydroxyanisol - probable carcinogen
Aspartame - linked to leukaemia
And lots of other fun stuff! It's not exactly health food.
And then there's the environmental impact of gum. Here are a few things to consider when buying gum:
- It comes wrapped in plastic that'll take, on average, 450 years to decompose.
- The gum itself is the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts.
- 92% of Britain's urban paving stones have gum stuck to them.
- The chemicals used to clean it off the streets are toxic.
I could go on, but you get it. Gum's not good.
Righty-o, moving swiftly along to disposable drinking straws. I couldn't think of a single reason why they could be bad for your health but luckily I've got this great little site called Google and here's what came up there:
1. They worsen your mouth wrinkles.
2. They give you gas.
3. They DON'T protect your teeth.
SO WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
However, what's far, far worse about straws is their environmental impact. In the US alone, 500 million straws are used each day. Straws can't be recycled so these are headed straight to landfill. Even worse, loads of them make their way to the ocean where they join the tons of plastic waste harming marine life. This video of a straw being removed from a seat turtle's nostril drives the point home pretty horrifically.