Souhegan Moves to Ban Straws On Campus


Simmone Dodge , Community Council Rep.


Souhegan, New Hampshire

Recently, Souhegan High School’s Community Council has been discussing a new proposal centered around straws.  This popular amenity is frequently utilized in the school’s cafeteria with the purchase of an iced coffee or lemonade.  The proposal advocates for the discontinuing of plastic straws as an option on campus.  Instead, paper and/or reusable straws would be available.  Souhegan’s mission statement expresses a clear goal “to inspire and honor the active stewardship of family, nation, and globe.”  Ceasing the offering of plastic straws at the school would help the community to continually strive towards this goal by being more environmentally conscious.

Plastic straws have frequently made the top ten list of most common trash found on ocean clean ups.  Each day, the United States alone throws away 350 to 500 million straws.  Too small to be properly recycled, most will find their way into the ocean and remain there forever.  These little plastic tubes take 200 years to degrade, and they will never biodegrade.  This form of plastic waste, along with the fourteen billion pounds of plastic trash dumped into the Earth’s largest water system each year, will be ingested by marine organisms like sea turtles and albatrosses.  Every year, 100,000 marine animals and one million seabirds lose their lives to ingested plastic.  It is estimated that 99% of all seabird species will have eaten plastic by the year 2050 (the mortality rate is 50%); the same year that there will also be more plastic than fish in the sea (without action) according to recent reports.

Even though straws are non-essential for the majority of the population (with the exception being those with disabilities), the average American uses 30,000 in their lifetime.  It would be ignorant to say that straws are at the root of the plastic problem, but since they serve only as an unnecessary luxury for most of us, they are the easiest and simplest way to act against the single-use plastic crisis.  There are many other environmental issues that can and should be addressed in the future at Souhegan.  This manageable change can be the first step that the high school takes toward a more sustainable future.

If you are interested in this proposal, please take the time to attend one of Community Council’s meetings from 2:30 to 3:15pm in the Info Center at Souhegan on Mondays.  The first Monday of each month is a night meeting from 5:00 to 7:00pm.

Media Contacts:

Simmone Dodge