The Little Things – No Straws Please

the little things

Hello and welcome back to another episode of the little things! These are small changes you can make in your life to help the planet. Today we’re talking about plastic straws. In 2015 the UK Government enacted a law requiring large shops in England to charge 5p for all single use plastic bags and since then plastic bag use has plummeted (1). It has been a huge success in reducing the amount of single use plastic that is used in the UK. Now many people have turned their attention to straws.

Straws similarly to plastic bags are single use and can take up to 200 YEARS to decompose. They contribute a vast amount to the plastic that ends up in landfill and they are among the ten top things that are most likely to be found on a coastal clean up. The straws that do end up in the ocean will break down and become microplastics. Microplastics can be extremely damaging to the environment and marine life, they can even end up back on our plates. Straws have also been found stuck in the blowholes of whales and dolphins and stuck in turtles nostrils.

Straws Life Cycle_tw3

By WorldWatch Institute (2)

Straws are freely available at so many places. Wetherspoons (a pub chain) hand out 70 million straws a year (3). These straws for the most part are not recycled and several staff members have complained about the straws that they chuck away and they are not the only ones who want to see a change. There are some fantastic projects going on across the world to try and encourage people to turn down having a straw in your glass (I’ve left links to them at the bottom of this blog (4 & 5)).

By PlasticPollutionCoalition (5)

“But I love using straws?!”

If this is you or if you have heard about the benefits that come with using straws (3) then never fear I have a solution for you. There are wonderful reusable straws (that I gave to my straw-loving sister for christmas). Many are made from metal, they are easy to clean, not overly expensive and will last you a life time! You can get them from amazon here but they are also available in many cooking stores. You can also get straws made from recyclable materials such as paper.

So what’s the little thing you can do to help?!

This one is super simple! Just refuse the straw! When you order a drink politely ask for one without a straw or go to bars that have already signed a pledge to not use plastic straws. You can find some amazing bars in Soho in London at link 4.

Then when you’ve made your own pledge spread the word and try and get your friends to join in. It’s a small change to your life that can have a huge impact on the world.

ThatBiologist Everywhere!





References and Helpful Links:

1 =

2 =

3 =

4 = – Mainly for bars in soho in London that want to stop giving out straws. They have some fantastic bars as part of the project so you might want to pick some of these for your next night out.

5 = – Fantastic information on how to refuse a straw!

Featured Image:


Becoming A Master – London For Scientists


Week 25


So the past two weeks in my life I have been preparing for my field work for my dissertation. This has included meetings with my supervisor to get my methodology down and writing my risk assessment as well as starting my background research. However I have also been taking some down time before my field work begins (its starting tomorrow eeep). This has meant for me lots of sleep and spending quality time with my better half however I live (in my opinion) in the best city in the world. So I’ve been able to go out and explore London! So I thought with this blog I would suggest a few sciencey tourist spots for people to go and find and learn more about science!

For the Beginner: The Science Museum

The science museum is just a great place to get started with science. It has a bit of everything from technology to biology to engineering. What I totally love about the museum is it has loads of bits to interact with which is great for kids (and grown-up kids) and its also 100% free to go in. I went to there cosmonauts exhibition last year and it was one of my favourite exhibitions that I have ever been too.

For the all round Biologist: The Natural History Museum

If you’re in London you will seriously miss out if you haven’t been to the Natural History Museum. It’s a stunning building and again 100% free to go in but the queues to enter can be super long at peak times. But don’t just go for the dinosaurs! The dinosaur exhibit is by far their most popular exhibit but make sure you go upstairs for the real treasures. My favourite spot is at the top of the central staircase where they keep some extra special treasures. I won’t spoil it by telling you whats in there but just go, you won’t be disappointed!

For the Botanist: The Royal Botanical Gardens – Kew!

By now it is no secret that Kew is one of my favourite places in London. It’s this strangely peaceful spot in an increasingly busy city. This is the first on my list that is not free to enter but holds some incredibly rare plants and is beautiful all year round. It has something different to see every time I go and is a botanists heaven.

For the Medic: Florence Nightingale Museum and The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret

There are so many interesting medical museums in London. But two things that remain on my bucket list are these two. Old fashioned surgery is so interesting and without there advancements the modern surgery we see today might look very different. As for florence nightingale she is another fantastic woman that I cannot help but admire and want to learn more about.

For the Engineer: The Tower Bridge Tour.

London is full of engineering prowess. Its a city with so many different levels and its construction is something I have become increasingly more interested by. Tower Bridge in itself is a tourist destination and well worth a trip across but the tour provides even more insight. The engineering behind its movement is so beautifully simple and definitely worth a trip.

Obviously there are loads more and if you like your history of science be sure to look out for the blue plaques on the wall. You’ll be sure to see some of your favourite scientist’s names out and about.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks update and I will be back next Sunday with an update on my first week of field work!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!