What we know: Single-use plastics

What we know

Since we (The Three Straws) started this endeavour we have researched as much we could find on the damage that plastic and more importantly single use plastics are doing to our planet. We can tell there is a lot of information out there.

So this being our first blog post of many, we wanted to share with you what we have found out and help to make sense of what these numbers actually mean.

Facts and Figures

In the United States alone, 500 million straw’s per day are thrown away! This is an average of 1.6 straws per person  per day. Based on this national average, each person in the US will use approximately 38,000 straws in a 60 year period, though with the life expectancy of the States being 78 years, this suggests that people over the age of 65 don’t use straws?

Google tells us the average weight of a plastic straw is approx. 0.42grams.

By taking the US national average consumption of plastic straws we can conclude that 210 tonnes of plastic straws in the US are thrown away each day!

To put this figure in to a size comparison, the following image shows:

  • A person - average weight of an adult is 62kgs

  • A car - average weight of a new car is approx. 1,800kgs

  • A bus - average weight of a bus is approx. 15 tonnes

  • An A380 - the weight of an A380 is approx. 560 tonnes

  • The RMS Titanic - 52,310 tonnes

Source: Yzmo, Wikimedia Commons

Source: Yzmo, Wikimedia Commons

So with the above average weights we can say that the US national average consumption of JUST plastic straws is the equivalent to:

  • 1.2 million adults

  • 42,000 new cars

  • 5,000 buses

  • 135 A380 aircraft

  • 1.4 Titanic’s

According to a Seas At Risk report, the Spanish national average of straws consumed is 115 per person p.a. This makes Spain's daily consumption of straws thrown away 14.5 million straws which works out at 6 tonnes per day or 2,190 tonnes per year.


The same report goes on to say that 6% of pollution found on all mediterranean beaches is made up of plastic straws and stirrers. This is an astronomical amount! But what is most alarming, is that this is not all the plastics found in the Med, just what is washed up. The remaining 94% is made up of; other plastics (57%), cigarette butts (24%), bottle tops (6%), beverage bottles (5%) and plastic lids (3%).

Interestingly an article that came out last year in The Olive Press, goes on to say that Spain is Europe's largest consumer of plastic straws.

What is most surprising is that plastic straws thrown away only make up a mere 6% of the total pollution found on the Mediterranean!


A European commission report on plastic pollution states that for every km2 of water in the Mediterranean there are 40 pieces of marine litter. These plastics as we now know break down into tiny fragments which then enter the food chain, meaning ultimately we as humans will ingest them.

This is ultimately why we at The Three Straws started our endeavour, we want to be part of the solution.  We source products that are eco friendly and biodegradable in a natural environment and are guaranteed to made to the highest standards.