It is estimated that Americans used and dispose of nearly half a billion plastic straws every day. Not every month, not every year, but EVERY DAY. This is the number pushed by environmental activists when advocating for a straw free society.
It has been well documented that plastic waste fills up garbage dumps and regularly makes deposits in the ocean but banning plastic straws or creating a 'straws on request' mandate could have immediate results. Many California cities have already banned plastic bags at grocery and retail stores and environmentalists are pushing for a similar mandate for plastic straws.
Straws pose an even bigger problem than plastic bottles as bottles are encouraged to be recycled. No such infrastructure is in place for straws or other similar plastics, such as lids or cups. The straws add a considerable amount of waste in our oceans and lakes and are one of the most commonly found items during trash drags at the beach.
Read more at the LA Times