About 500 million drinking straws are used every day in the U.S., an amount large enough to fill over 127 school buses each day or more than 46,400 school buses every year.
This and other startling facts were discovered by first grade students in Liz Elliott’s PACES class at Perry Elementary School.
“This past fall my students began a service learning project about the number of plastic straws that end up in landfills,” said Elliott. “They made posters that I took to local restaurants to raise awareness of the issue. My class spoke to a school board member, and we also sent a letter to the mayor.”
In response to these efforts, Perry Mayor Jay Pattee has declared May 15 as Straw Free Day in Perry. The Perry City Council joined Pattee in commending the young people for their research and their commitment to environmental sustainability.
500 million straws per day is an average of 1.6 straws per person in the U.S. per day. Based on this national average, each person in the U.S. will use approximately 38,000 or more straws between the ages of 5 and 65, according to data compiled by BeStrawFree, an organization promoting zero-waste recycling.
PACES stands for Perry Academic Cultural and Enrichment Services and is a before- and after-school program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.