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Are straws the next plastic bags? Seattle Aquarium, others ditch the popular utensil

(Getty Images)

SEATTLE —  #StopSucking.

That’s the message the Seattle Aquarium and some local business hope to get across.

No, it’s not  derogatory slang. It’s a message to move away from straws and other single-use plastics.

According to the National Park Service, Americans use about 500 million drinking straws every day.  Based on national averages, this reportedly equates to a single person using about 38,000 straws in their lifetime.

Many of these straws are ending up in the ocean.

"By 2050,  if we don't do anything to clean up the oceans, there will be more weight in trash and plastic in our oceans than there will be fish," Angie Kemp, the general manager of Seattle Aquarium's Food and Beverage said.

In June, the Seattle Aquarium moved away from plastic. They stopped selling plastic drink bottles, and they moved to paper straws. It's all in an effort to help save the ocean from the ever-increasing scourge of polluted plastic.

"People are generating a lot of excess plastic," said Jim Wharton, the aquarium's director of Conservation and Education. "Some of that gets into the landfills, very little of it gets into recycling and a lot of it gets into the environment."

Seattle Aquarium is not alone in moving away from the plastic straw. Jillian Henze of the Seattle Restaurant Association says a campaign called "Strawless in Seattle" is planned for September. As many as 500 local groups and restaurants will stop using plastic straws for the month.

Even for restaurants that still use plastic straws, Henze said, many are trying to limit straw use.

"They are straw conscious and don't put them in mixed drinks, etc.," Henze wrote to Q13 News.

But don't worry, straw lovers.

The city of Seattle says there's no plans for a city-wide ban on plastic straws anytime soon.

Will Lemke, with the Seattle Mayor's Office, told Q13 News there is no ordinance on the table, and a straw ban is not on the city's radar.