You’ve heard the expression, that’s the last straw! But what about the first? The very first straws were used by ancient Sumerians for drinking beer. And because the beer barrels were too large to pass around, these long, communal drinking straws had to go the distance. The next ones were made from ryegrass, which made beverages taste, well, grassy! Thanks to Marvin Stone, the paper straw replaced this kind, and folks began sipping in a more appealing way.

We celebrate National Drinking Straw Day on January 3rd because that’s when Marvin received his patent in 1888. But with more than 500 million plastic straws going to waste each day, some people celebrate with new and improved ways to do their part. If you see plastic as the last straw for the environment, try paper ones or reusable straws made of metal, glass, or bamboo.

Today we also celebrate: