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The Last Straw

Should plastic straws be banned? TOM GRILL—JGI/GETTY IMAGES

At first, scientists thought it was a worm. They were studying sea turtles in Costa Rica. That is in Central America. One turtle had something sticking out of its nose. It could not breathe. Scientists pulled the object out. It was a plastic straw.

The scientists made sure the turtle was healthy. It scuttled scuttle VICKI JAURON— BABYLON AND BEYOND PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES to move quickly and with short steps (verb) The squirrel scuttled into a tree. back into the water. They posted a video of the rescue on the Internet. When people saw it, they were shocked.

The video motivated motivate HERO IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES to give someone a reason to do something (verb) His desire for good grades motivated him to study hard. Diana Lofflin to start The group is in California. Its goal is to make people aware of the harm plastic straws cause to the environment. Lofflin hopes people will find alternatives alternative LAURIE CASTELLI—GETTY IMAGES something that can be chosen instead of something else (noun) Soy milk and almond milk are two alternatives to dairy milk for people who are lactose intolerant. to plastic straws.

Sipping from a straw is fun. But think twice. Giving up that plastic straw can help protect the environment.


“Straws are not necessary for enjoying a drink,” she says. “Saying no to a plastic straw is a way to make a difference in the world.”

Hope for the Future

A movement movement MOMENTIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES a series of organized activities designed to achieve a goal (noun) At my school, there is a growing movement to lengthen recess. to ban plastic straws is growing. In California, it is illegal for food servers to give straws to customers who don’t ask for them. Seattle, Washington, has banned all plastic utensils.

Plastic straws are put out for the taking in many restaurants. But some states no longer allow it.


Plastic litter gets into storm drains. It washes into rivers and oceans. Fish and other animals eat the plastic. It can kill them.

Litter from the ocean washes onto the beach. Plastic straws are some of the most-found objects on beaches.


Nancy Wallace works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in Washington, D.C. She says schools should reduce the amount of plastic they use. Kids must do their part, too.

Plastic litter gets into storm drains. It washes into rivers, lakes, and oceans


Says Wallace: “We’re pinning our hopes on the next generation to help solve this problem.”

A New Lid


Starbucks is banning plastic straws. The company says it will stop handing out plastic straws in all its stores by 2020. With 28,000 stores, that’s about 1 billion fewer straws a year.

How will you sip your drink? The company has made a new lid for its cups. Some call it a “sippy cup,” like those used by little kids. Unlike straws, the new lid can be recycled.