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    Plastic straws have become the poster child of waste associated with unnecessary single-use plastics. The visibility of straws littering the land and marine environments has influenced proposals to decrease the use of plastic straws. These include bans on plastic straws at the city, state, and national levels and by many corporations. However, most hospitals continue to use plastic straws in hospital dining areas and for patients. Hospital dining areas are like other public dining areas, so eliminating plastic straws should be straightforward. Regarding the use of straws by patients, we review evidence and propose that patients should not be routinely given straws. Instead, physicians and nursing staff should request straws depending on the patient's medical needs. Plastic straws make up only a tiny fraction of hospital waste but can be a catalyst to create awareness and decrease unnecessary plastic use in other areas of the hospital. Mitigating climate change requires a concerted effort from hospital leadership and healthcare providers. Only then will hospitals be able to fulfill their climate pledge of net zero emissions by 2050.

    Citation

    Deepak Agrawal, Armin Bashashati. Hospitals Should Offer Straws Only on Demand to the Public and Patients-An Environmental and Patient Care Imperative. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2024 Jan 24;21(2)

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    PMID: 38397618

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