Depending on what social circles you run in, you may or may not have seen the recently viral hate on plastic straws. The hate isn’t new, but going by the ban of plastic straws, and other plastic utensils in Seattle this July, it certainly has gotten much more attention. This ban’s planning actually started in September of last year. Perhaps others have seen this as a long brewing storm even before Seattle since they’re the latest city to make the ban, but on social media it is sparking debates.
People are arguing over what is more impactful way to deal with the Earth’s depleting resources: banning plastic items as they are often single use, going vegan and reducing methane emissions from animals, or finding ways around daily fossil fuel use. Other arguments are that while this movement has the right idea that corporations need to step up and do their part, not just individuals.
A counter-voice to the plastic straw ban has come from people with disabilities who need to use plastic straws to live an easier life because using straws made out of alternative materials are not as effective. Metal straws heat up too much when used for hot liquids and are potentially dangerous for people with physical ticks/spasms/seizures. Paper straws are a major suggestion, but can deteriorate too quickly and for people with pica, may not last long enough to be of any real use. Some people from the UK have suggested that if those with disabilities need a plastic straw that they should get a prescription for it.
Others call certain tactics unnecessary guilt trips such as a server asking a customer if they will be needing straws or if they’d rather save the turtles.
The internet has various clashing opinions surrounding the plastic straw debate. Some observers may see this as one more argument that the internet has dreamed up, but more than one group is taking it seriously. Starbucks has decided its last straw will be done with in 2020. With all the locations that Starbucks owns, it could have a serious impact, but as with every major decision a business makes not everyone will be happy. Maybe this topic will fade away into obscurity in the upcoming weeks or maybe it will be a jumping point for more environmental discussions and future practices.