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Straw or no straw?

I'm wondering what your opinion is on the latest in armchair activism - the straw ban. Even though straws have been around for ages and recycling has been around for ages, there's now a recent fever to ban plastic straws. Someone that is a former councilman in my town posted this, I guess thinking people were going to stroke his ego and pump their fists in agreement

Well, me, being the contrarian that I am, disagreed. Though I was polite about it. Straws are necessary for many disabled people and while I think it's great that people want to reduce the impact, I didn't think this shaming attitude toward doing it or even an outright ban is right at all. Is it so difficult to just do it subtly? To not automatically put down a straw and maybe just ask if someone needs one?

His ego was clearly bruised as he automatically got defensive, saying that disabled people can just carry them with them and that places shouldn't have to provide the accommodation. I countered, and yes, I did call him ableist, and asked whether he was going to encourage grocery stores to get rid of their energy-wasting electric carts for the disabled.

I also pointed out the irony that in the picture there is an equally wasteful plastic cup with unnecessary plastic lid which is many times bigger than a straw. He shot back that the cup is recyclable and I countered with the fact that it wasn't easily recyclable and it falls into the same category of plastics that are the same as the plastic grocery bag that he's lobbied for a local ban. The plastic grocery bags are much easier to recycle than cups so by cherry picking his activism, he was being hypocritical. All I was asking is that these places soften their message about conserving straws and that a ban NOT be proposed because it makes life very inconvenient for a protected class of people.

He railed at me, making a joke that I was making "straw man" arguments (I told him that pun was offensive) and also said that I could "keep my straws and my guns" (what?). Basically he was being an ass. Interestingly, he actually gave in when I pointed out that parents with small children need the convenience of straws too. Or maybe it was when I pointed out that the straws are made of the same material but the only reason they're not recycled is because they don't get processed properly in the recycling machines and maybe that is where to start.

I even said early on that I was bringing reusable bags to the grocery ages and ages before the proposed plastic bag bans. That I agree with reduced usage but that it was the tone of the message that it was wrong.  There wasn't one person on the thread that agreed with his strong arm tactics. He kept trying to encourage me to go offline and discuss it with him in person (what, so he can try to intimidate me? I don't think so, bud).

He ended up deleting all of his replies to me but left his post otherwise intact. Quite cowardly and lacking in integrity if you ask me.

This entry is crossposted from https://missdiane.dreamwidth.org/1077309.html. You can comment here on LJ or if you prefer, on on the original post at DW using OpenID. comment count unavailable comments are currently on Dreamwidth.


( 25 comments — Something to say? )
Jul. 9th, 2018 02:35 pm (UTC)
The container the liquid is more problematic than a plastic straw.Jwwz! Plus there are more of those in the oceans than plastic straws. Jeez!
Jul. 9th, 2018 03:42 pm (UTC)

The guy clearly thinks he needs the last word and this morning posted this with the comment "Let the market do its magic."

I commented "I hope the paper straws they get are especially sturdy for folks that need them for hot drinks.
Now perhaps they need to consider revamping their gigantic plastic cups with the dome lids that no one recycles to one that will break down within the next millennium."
Jul. 9th, 2018 03:56 pm (UTC)
I'm with Dave 100% :l Stupid, hypocritical effort. There is no reason at all people can't bring their own damn reusable cups/mugs to these places :l Plus, at least here, you get a discount when you don't take a cup! That's win-win like come on guys it's easy.

And I agree with your point. The disabled, the very young and very old--there are lots of times when straws make sense.

I get pissed off at stuff like this because why are we stressing over a fucking straw when other countries are literally dumping nuclear waste into our shared water and polluting the air and no one gives a shit. But yes let's ban straws--that'll save the fucking world.

If my eyes rolled any harder right now they'd be on the floor. But, go ahead and "keep your guns"?? I don't even know where to begin with that comment. Left field, much? Dude's a moron.
Jul. 9th, 2018 04:23 pm (UTC)
Exactly. The smug jackass should have a reusable cup in that picture. That or the place that's all uppity about going strawless needs to switch to more eco-friendly cups and get off their high horses.

Exactafreakingmundo. Yes, plastic in the ocean is a big, bad deal, but straw shaming people is not going to do the trick. Why isn't there any effort to create machines that can recycle these straws and cups? That will help even more. But no, folks just love playing the superior game.

On the lighter side, reminds me of this video. Yep, only an activist if it's convenient
Jul. 10th, 2018 04:23 am (UTC)
HA!! That says it all
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 9th, 2018 03:42 pm (UTC)
Seattle has banned them and Starbucks is looking to eliminate them. Straw banning is the new petty bullshit thing.
Jul. 9th, 2018 04:46 pm (UTC)
I never use straws, so I'm not really bothered by their ban. I was saying the same thing about the plastic lid and glass just this morning. If you are going to take a stand, take it, don't just widdle on the edge of it.
Jul. 9th, 2018 05:17 pm (UTC)
Yep! Now today he's back at it on the thread and seems to be doubling down, though he's modifying it to grouse about all plastic (I didn't bother to bring up the cup in the picture again). Before I tiptoed back in, another guy was already telling him that since plastics aren't going away anytime soon that the importance should be on improving recycling programs. I totally agreed and posted about this cool thing

Our town is FULL of potholes which people grouse about constantly. Seems like a good solution
Jul. 9th, 2018 05:44 pm (UTC)
People like him never shut up... sadly.

I think that's a great use for them. They are using plastics for road repair out here. I think it could save us tons if they would initiate it country wide.
Jul. 9th, 2018 05:47 pm (UTC)
I think you're right. Though since I don't know how he could possibly disagree with the road thing, if he babbles more, I'll let others take the reins.

Isn't that cool? I mean asphalt already uses oil, plastic is an oil and evidently these are even stronger. Win win!
Jul. 9th, 2018 06:14 pm (UTC)
And you know what? The asphalt made with plastic is so much quieter. It's crazy, but they did a test strip in front of the office and it's like day and night.

Sometimes, it's just easier to let someone else handle the heavy lifting. :P
Jul. 9th, 2018 05:09 pm (UTC)
I've seen terribly disturbing photos of sea turtles with plastic straws shoved up their noses - I think the idea behind focusing on straws is that there are SO many of them discarded - and not properly - and that many times, when you have a drink, a straw is not necessary - it's just habit to use one.

This guy was tone deaf though - you raise very important points - and like you said, it's pretty lame to focus on the straw when you have a photo of a single use cup and lid that are also not going to be recycled!

Like you said - if you went with a softer approach where straws are not automatically put in the drinks in restaurants, and you had to ask for one - you'd automatically reduce usage by a significant percentage -and people who did need them could still use them.
Jul. 9th, 2018 05:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks. That's all I was trying to emphasize was to ease people into it to get them used to the idea, offer alternatives before just snatching them away. But Mr. Superior's ego couldn't deal with that. His way or the highway. Pffft.
Jul. 9th, 2018 06:36 pm (UTC)
I think it has to do with the amount of plastic that eventually gets to the ocean and the amount of sea animals that choke on the straws. If you go to Hanauma Bay on Oahu, they have banned straws for years. It can be an inconvenience. Ocean garbage is a horrific deal. As far as straws, I have glass ones - one bent, one milkshake and one straight. I wear braces so I also have a (tiny) portable silverware set with chopsticks so I can eat as well. Reducing plastic, non-biodegradable waste is a great idea. Alternately, maybe they can bring back paper straws or sippy cup type lids that are recyclable or bio-degradable in compost (temperature) situations.
Jul. 9th, 2018 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: straws
I also think the key here is our adaptation. Certainly it is convenient (to have certain amenities), but it should spur our creativity and move us forward about the use of resources, waste and current lifestyle.
Jul. 9th, 2018 06:42 pm (UTC)
Re: straws
You're going to tell a disabled or elderly person to adapt? That too bad, they'll have to suck it up?
Jul. 9th, 2018 06:42 pm (UTC)
Re: straws
I'm aware of the reasons and nowhere did I disagree with reducing the amount of straws but the issue is the tone in which it's being proposed and that it isn't considering those who do have a need for them. I also took issue with the plastic cup in the picture that's being conveniently

It's great you're doing so fabulous for the environment. Reusable straws are difficult to sanitize properly which for someone that already has a disability, it would be important to have a sanitary one at all times. That and if you forget yours, well, likely not a big deal, you can drink from the cup. Someone with a disability forgets and they're screwed.

I put a link in the post as to why a universal ban hurts some people. Why paper straws won't work either.
Jul. 9th, 2018 07:02 pm (UTC)
While I am all for eliminating as much waste as we can (not to mention finding reusable straws that are easy to clean), this guy comes across as a petulant moron looking for a bone to pick.

Glad you knocked him down several pegs.

Jul. 9th, 2018 08:23 pm (UTC)
I think the point of the recent push to ban plastic straws is that for most people they are a convenient, one time, short term use of plastic that is then tossed away. It is not something most people need but are used to having. The amount of plastic waste from straws is huge. There are alternatives- paper, glass, metal - so people who really want or need a straw can still use one. If we stopped using plastic straws it would reduce plastic waste and it is an easy thing to do. Yes the example of a plastic cup and lid is not helpful in getting the point across that we have too much plastic waste.
Jul. 9th, 2018 08:27 pm (UTC)
The link in the post notes how paper is not a viable option for disabled folks that drink hot beverages. Also, metal straws can get too hot and neither metal nor glass can be adequately sanitized for disabled folks as well.

My point to the guy is that going from all to none and shaming people is not the way to go. Servers should stop giving them out automatically and ask. Restaurants can keep them behind the counter. Ease people into the idea and don't make disabled people, the elderly and parents with young children's lives any harder than they already are.
Jul. 9th, 2018 10:12 pm (UTC)
I admit I didn’t read the link. Thanks for the info.

Shaming people is definitely not the best approach, but I do think anything we can do to reduce plastic use is a good thing.
Jul. 9th, 2018 08:34 pm (UTC)
I remember when we only had paper straws, which were totally recyclable and did the job just as well.

(Deleted comment)
Aug. 1st, 2018 10:55 am (UTC)
Yes, I am aware of that. And they are estimated to be .03% of the amount of ocean plastic yet are a daily need for many disabled people around the world. A ban will be less than a negligible effect at cleaning up the oceans yet will make lives harder for a good deal of people
Aug. 1st, 2018 10:58 am (UTC)
Also, it’s not that the plastic isn’t recyclable, the machines themselves aren’t suited to catching the small material and breaking it down. Perhaps with all the money spent on legislation to try to ban them, instead some smart engineer can find a way to create a straw recycling device
( 25 comments — Something to say? )