In the US we use as many as 500 million plastic straws every day . They serve their purpose for less than hour, after which they are discarded, never to be used again.
Due to their light-weight nature, many of them never make it to the trash bin where they belong. Even when recycled, a very small portion ever gets reused. The rest are destined to a life in a landfill, or worse, the ocean where it can wreak havoc on marine life.
It is a big problem with an easy solution: restaurants and businesses alike can use reusable, dishwasher-safe straws. Even the most well meaning of us forget to ask for no straw when we're out to eat, and so we're best served by removing plastic straws altogether.