(NEWS10) — According to the National Park Service, Americans use approximately 500 million plastic drinking straws every day. On National Skip the Straw Day, environmental advocates ask Americans to consider how they can work towards becoming plastic straw-free and help keep millions of straws out of the world’s landfills and oceans.

To understand how many straws American’s use every day, the National Park Service says 500 million straws would fill over 125 school buses every single day. That’s 46,000 school buses packed with straws every year.

While it may seem like one person’s actions wouldn’t make much of a difference, according to national averages, each person in the U.S. uses 38,000 plastic drinking straws between the ages of 5 and 65. That’s a big difference.

Plastic straws don’t biodegrade over time. Instead, they break down into microscopic particles of biosphenol A (BPA), which can interfere with marine reproduction, and styrene monomer, a suspected carcinogen.

What can you do to help keep straws out of the environment?

  • Consider skipping a straw altogether and just sip your drink straight from the glass
  • Use a reusable straw made of glass or stainless steel. You can buy one online or in most major retailers
  • Use a biodegradable straw made of paper or bamboo
  • If you run a business, consider making straws “opt-in” only. Cut back on the number of straws you give out by keeping them behind the counter unless a customer asks for one.