“Bought reusable metal straws to reduce single-use plastic waste,” they explained. “They all came individually wrapped in plastic.”
They shared their story on the r/mildlyinfuriating subreddit, along with a photo of their purchase: a dozen multicolored metal straws, each sealed in plastic wrap, with the whole pack wrapped in yet another plastic sleeve.
When it comes to everyday materials that generate the most problematic trash, plastic is at the top of the list. It takes decades or centuries to break down in nature, sheds microplastics that are likely to cause cancer, is difficult or impossible to recycle, and tends to accumulate in landfills and the environment.
Plus, buying dozens or hundreds of single-use plastic items is often more expensive than buying one durable one, and users have to deal with all that trash over time.
That being the case, it’s easy to see why someone who uses a lot of straws might prefer to make the switch to metal ones. But this Redditor didn’t get what they expected.
“I have teeth aligners and drinking with a straw prevents them from getting stained,” the original poster explained in a comment. “Plus they’re great for cocktails!” But the discovery of the excessive plastic packaging seems to have spoiled their experience of getting metal straws.
“Your request to go green has been denied!” said one user.
“Unless you decide to re-wrap them every time you use them, it’s still a better alternative,” another Redditor pointed out.
In fact, that’s the case with many reusable products that replace disposable ones, like razors and quality water bottles. There is some up-front investment in manufacturing, packaging, and shipping that is usually greater than what it takes to get a disposable one, and they cost more initially.
But you’ll still save materials, energy, money, and time over the lifespan of the item — and if you want to minimize that initial investment, you can participate in the secondhand market. Buying from thrift stores and donating or selling your used goods helps reduce the demand for new ones and keep old items out of landfills.
Consumers can also buy from eco-friendly companies that package their products responsibly. Additionally, supporting businesses that practice zero-waste shipping methods can make a significant impact.
By voicing concerns regarding packaging and demanding more sustainable practices, consumers can play a vital role in holding corporations accountable and making positive changes happen.
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