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Because of the horrible impact of plastic on our oceans, there’s been something of a backlash against disposable plastic straws. From local governments and industry giants to small smoothie shops, conscientious people everywhere have been leading the charge against these environmentally destructive products. Even Disney has hopped on board, banning plastic straws from its parks and cruise lines.

As exciting and wonderful as all this news tends to be, we are often left with a lingering question: What to use as straws instead? Plenty of wheelchair users and other people with disabilities rely on straws to be able to drink, so the banning of plastic straws could become inhumane without sufficient, affordable alternatives. One smoothie shop owner in Tampa Bay, Florida has come up with a unique, if somewhat “corny” solution.

“We make our straws out of polylactic acid, or PLA, which is made from corn starch,” explained Smoothie Store owner Chris Mueller, who is also the founder of Turtle Buddy Straws.

According to Mr. Mueller, he was inspired to start his straw business after seeing a video on YouTube  of a turtle with a plastic straw jammed uncomfortably up its nostril.

“I realized we were going through a quarter of a million straws per year, and I knew if we could make one small change, we could make a big impact,”

Mueller says his corn starch straws work just as well as plastic straws and won’t bend and break like other plastic straw alternatives. Not only do these straws measure up to the real thing, they cost a mere half cent per unit, making them cheaper than other paper straws on the market.

But more importantly, the straws will be less costly to the environment. While plastic straws can take up to half a millennium to biodegrade. (You read that right… millennium) these corn straws decay in a matter of months, giving our oceans, and the wildlife within, renewed reason to breathe easy.

For more information on plastic Pollution in the ocean, check out There Will be More Plastic in the Oceans Than Fish by 2050 – Here’s How You Can HelpOur Plastic Pollution Is Infecting Marine Life Over 7 Miles Down in the Ocean, and These 5 Marine Animals Are Dying Because of Our Plastic Trash… Here’s How We Can Help.

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