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Cool Idea!

A company invented a straw that melts!

Animation of a child holding a glass in which a straw is melting into liquid.

© Visual Generation, Vitezslav Sispera/; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Straws are a big problem. Most of them are made of plastic, which is harmful to the planet. A new company called The Ice Guys is aiming to solve the straw problem. They invented a straw that’s made of ice.

The Ice Straw is the first straw that’s all ice. It keeps drinks cool and then melts away, just like an ice cube.

The Ice Guys don’t actually sell straws made of ice. What they sell is a mold. To make ice straws, you just fill the mold with water (or juice) and put it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. The mold is shaped so that the liquid freezes into straws.

Ice Straws can be used instead of plastic straws. Every year, people throw away millions of tons of plastic. This includes straws, wrappers, bags, bottles, and other containers. Plastic lasts for a long time. And a lot of it ends up in oceans, where it is harmful to ocean life. Experts say plastic straws are a very small part of the plastic problem. But anything we can do to use less plastic will help keep our planet cleaner and safer.

Many types of straws can be used instead of plastic. Some people use metal or glass straws. And some people decide not to use straws at all!


International Women’s Day

In a street march of several women, a woman speaks into a megaphone flanked by two women holding a large sign

© Elena Baryshnikova/

Women march for their rights in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on March 8, 2020.

International Women’s Day is a holiday that is celebrated all over the world. It takes place on March 8. 

On International Women’s Day, people recognize how far women have come to win rights and fair treatment. This is also a day to think about what else should be done to make sure women are treated equally.

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Did You Know?

Different colored plastic straws with international symbol for No.

© Ludmila Korotkova/

In 2011, 9-year-old Milo Cress started the Be Straw Free Campaign. His goal was to get people to use fewer plastic straws. Milo talked to companies about the plastic problem. He also gave speeches around the world.

Thanks to Milo and others, many companies have pledged (promised) to stop using plastic straws.

Is McDonald’s Changing its Ways?

© Wokephoto17—Moment/Getty Images, © Thomaspajot/; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

© Wokephoto17—Moment/Getty Images, © Thomaspajot/; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Many companies sell their food in plastic containers. But some of them are making changes. Here’s the story of how McDonald’s has changed its ways.

In 1990, McDonald’s changed its hamburger containers. The old containers were made from a kind of plastic that is hard to recycle. The new containers were made of paper.

In 2018, McDonald’s started using cups that can be recycled. The old cups were made from a kind of foam. They weren’t easy to recycle. 

Also in 2018, McDonald’s stopped using plastic straws in the United Kingdom. The new straws are made from paper. But many people complained. They said the straws were hard to recycle.

In 2023, McDonald’s said it would stop using straws. It started using new plastic cups with a special lid that doesn’t need a straw. These cups use a lot of plastic. But companies say it’s better to use the cups than plastic straws because the cups are easier to recycle. 

McDonald’s has come up with a lot of ideas. Do they help the planet? What do you think?

The Plastic Problem

Sneakers, toothpaste, soda cans, wrapping paper, paper cups, and milk cartons.

© Chernetskaya, Oleg Dudko, Lim Seng Kui, Anmbph/, © tatyana_tomsickova—iStock/Getty Images Plus, © jules/

We use a lot of plastic. There’s plastic in our phones, our toys, our cars, and even our clothes. Did you know that all the items in these photos contain plastic?

What is plastic? And why is it bad for the planet?

Learn more at Britannica School.

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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: material that is left over or that is unwanted after something has been made, done, used, etc.

Definitions provided by
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