Many of us may not think about how many times a day we use (or would potentially use) single-use plastic straws. With containerization and the development of a food industry based on speed, single-use plastics including straws, utensils, and take-out containers have become endemic in our society.

The morning smoothie or iced coffee that you pick up on your way to work may have a plastic straw, just thoughtlessly placed in the rush of the morning. At lunch, beverages served in to-go cups may have plastic straws stuck in them, with the papers wrappers still half on. The server at the restaurant where you have dinner may just deftly place a handful of individually-wrapped plastic straws, without thinking about how many drinks might be on the table. And that evening cocktail that the bartender places in front of you probably has a small plastic straw in it, an afterthought in the bartender’s process.

Every day, without thinking about it, these single-uses of single-use plastics have begun to add up. Usually without thinking about it, we take these plastics and discard them after their single usefulness to us. Reducing our own personal impact starts with an awareness about exactly what that impact is, and then taking meaningful steps towards fixing what we have already damaged.