You asked, we answered: Can a plastic straw be recycled?
If you think you are being environmental friendly by recycling a plastic straw, you're likely mistaken.
“We don't know what type of plastic they are and even though they are plastic, those straws can’t be recycled,” explained Amanda Haffele, who is the Solid Waste Director with Advance Disposal in Portage County.
For years environmental advocates have fought to stop the use of plastic straws. Over time, hundreds of businesses and restaurants have banned the use of plastic straws in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint in the world.
Recently Miller Park Baseball Stadium announced their facility will only provide paper straws moving forward. And in 2018, the City of Seattle became the first major city to ban the use of plastic straws entirely.
“Plastic straws will never go into anything that we can use again, it will always be plastic no matter what,” added Haffele.
Even if you put a plastic straw in a recycling bin, although your intentions may be in right place, once it arrives at a recycling facility, it will be sorted out of the mixed and deemed trash. According to Haffele, plastic straws are too small to go through the machines and often get stuck.
“If it goes through our equipment it goes out as a residual and residual are all the things that can’t be recycled. That can be anything from batteries to dippers to straws. Then it goes to our tipping floors and then it ends in the landfill," Haffele says.
According to the National Park Service, 500 million plastic straws are used in the United States every day. Some scientist estimate there are more than 7 million plastic straws polluting U.S shorelines.