\n\nHi! I'm Amber Ziebell, a photographer, blogger and stay at home mama to my two daughters, Rowan (almost 3) and Luella (1). We live in Winona, Minnesota, a beautiful river town between the Mississippi River and Bluffs. This town has sparked my truest creative spirit. I am married to Jason, an amazing lover and supporter. I love supporting small businesses and eating local food. Our favorite thing in life is just being together as a family. Stay up to date with us over at my blog and Instagram. \n\n\nIn the spirit of Smiling Tree Toys' New Years Resolution to introduce impactful changes with minimum effort to positively effect the environment, I am going to share with you another small, yet important step to reduce your daily waste.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nIt is being said that America alone generates approximately 500 million straws per DAY. That's a whole lot of straws! According to the National Park Service, that equates to 125 school buses filled per day and 46,400 school buses filled per year. Clearly this is an alarming amount and by making one small switch in your daily life, you can make a huge impact, not only in the amount of waste that's produced, but also in the amount of extra plastic that is being manufactured per year. These single use plastic straws end up in landfills, beaches, oceans, rivers, and other places they simply don't belong.\nA couple of years ago, I purchased a three pack of stainless steel straws and have loved using them. They are easy to put in my purse or diaper bag, so I always have one with me when I stop at my favorite coffee shop or restaurant. Today I used it with my plain iced latte (yum), from my favorite local coffee shop. My daughter Rowan also loves these straws and always requests to use them, which makes drinking milk and water a bit more fun for her.\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThese straws can be purchased virtually anywhere these days. I got mine from Marley's Monsters, an online store for sustainable goods. Kleen Kanteen also has an inexpensive pack as well. I love all of their products, so you really can't go wrong.\n\nStainless steel straws are also super easy to clean, I just wash mine with every day dishes and if I want to give them a deep clean, say after using them with smoothies, I just boil them in water to make them like new again. That's the great thing about stainless steel, they won't break, tarnish or mold! They look pretty too, so that's always plus. They are a serious game-changer when it comes to your daily beverage routine.\nMake the switch and feel good about that small change making a HUGE difference in your and the environment's future. \n\nWhere to get them? Find stainless steel straws at most major retailers or on Amazon, where you can choose from straight, curved, and extra long straws. Some sets even come with brushes for easier cleaning.