I have an almost 2000 word post all about the recent straw bans and why I don’t think they’re the right decision so go read that (link in stories). I’ll put the short and sweet version here: the celebratory posts rocketing around Facebook are missing something. The very real backlash from the disability community who use plastic straws to function, not to make their drinks look cute. This is a good opportunity to look hard at the environmental movement, how inclusive it is, and the ramifications of putting the focus on small, consumer-at-fault issues and ignoring larger systemic issues.
Banning plastic straws assumes people don’t really need them, have the ability to buy/clean/maintain them, and that they won’t face invasive questions when they request a straw (if the shops even offer them after a while). It also assumes a straw ban is an effective use of our energy/activist resources, which... not really. Because the truth is, straws are estimated to be just .03% of the total trash that washes into the ocean each year. They’re an easy target that let people feel like they accomplished something, leading to the very real possibility that we ignore the real, huge impact issues.
So if you have the ability, why not make up for a few necessary straws by doing something that will more than compensate for it instead of fighting for a local straw ban? Stop eating animal products. Sell your car. Start composting. Tear up your lawn and create a garden. Etc. etc. etc.
We’re all in this fight together. With that, we need to accept we all have different abilities. Those who have the ability to do more, should. Happily take on the burden of doing extra work, because we can’t call it success if we leave people behind.
What are your thoughts on the plastic straw bans?