When you order your favorite Frappuccino at Starbucks or get water or soda at a restaurant, you might notice something different, or rather, something missing. Straws.

Some places are banning straws entirely but some other places are turning to paper straws instead of the plastic ones we grew up using.

While there can be arguments made that straws are bad for you, as parents, we know that they’ve prevented our kids from spilling their beverages more than once. We see both sides, but we definitely agree that it’s completely unnecessary and avoidable to use straws made out of disposable plastic. In a world of recycling and reusing, paper straws or metal straws are definitely better alternatives.

Okay, so you’re on board with ditching the plastic straws, but much damage has already been done. Many plastic straws end up in landfills, but many also end up polluting the ocean, harming marine life and littering the surrounding beaches. No worries. Something can be done about that too.

At 70-years-old, Pat Smith has proven that anyone, no matter their age, can make a difference and positively impact the environment. She started a campaign called The Final Straw in order to spread the word about how useless and harmful plastic straws really are. She also wants her hometown of Cornwall, UK, to be completely free of plastic straws.

Smith isn’t all talk either. She definitely puts action behind her words. In 2018, she was so determined to do something about the pollution, including straws, on nearby beaches, that she made a pretty extreme and awesome New Year’s Resolution.

Smith decided that in 2018 she was going to clean up one beach a week every week of the year. That’s a lot of work, especially for a 70-year-old grandmother!

Thankfully, Smith didn’t have to do the work alone. When her grandchildren found out about her goal, they were on board and wanted to help out too. When the community in her hometown found out about her mission, they were also excited about it and many volunteered to help.

The beach cleanup didn’t end in 2018. Smith is still cleaning up beaches and transforming them from polluted dumping grounds to pristine and beautiful, the way nature intended.

Do you use plastic straws? Did you know that plastic straws were harmful to marine life? Does Pat Smith’s story motivate you to stop using plastic straws and to start cleaning up polluted places in your community?