AUSTIN, Texas - Environmental scientists say the planet is getting hotter, so an Austin-based company is trying to do its part to cool things down by doing away with plastic straws.

  • One company produces 6,000 straws a day
  • Disintegrates in weeks, can be eaten by fish
  • Call for political effort

The straws at VitaPack Solutions are made of paper. Owner Alvara Mejia said his company produces about 6,000 straws a day, and sells them wholesale online.

Plastic products can take hundreds of years to decompose, and they pile up in our oceans.

"Paper is going to disintegrate in a couple of weeks and the fish can eat that kind of paper," said Mejia.

But just how much change can a straw make? Luke Metzger with Environment Texas said it’s a step.

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"When it comes to plastic pollution, we clearly have a serious problem," said Metzger.

He says scientists tell us the planet is warming faster than predicted, and that it will take more than just straws to make serious change.

"So, that's everything from moving to 100 percent renewable energy, to changing how we get around, so we're not so reliant on fossil fuel reliant cars," said Metzger.

Those are societal, industrial changes that would take the support of lawmakers. In Austin last week, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott used a speech at the Texas Oil and Gas Association to warn about what 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls want to do to the oil and gas industry.

"The EPA can be used to basically end oil and gas production as we know it," said Gov. Abbott.

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Mejia said he hopes the political divisiveness surrounding climate change can turn to compromise. In the meantime, he said he'll keep making paper straws in a small effort to help save the planet.

Because of the rise of paper straws, there's a new demand for recycled paper, which is good news for the recycling industry as a whole. More than 250 companies worldwide have signed a pledge with the Ellen MacArther Foundation to reduce their plastic waste.