No, Banning All Plastic Straws Is Not The Best Solution
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No, Banning All Plastic Straws Is Not The Best Solution

A lifestyle change is necessary, but denying people straws who require them is not.

Smoothie with plastic straw
Josh Sorenson / Pixabay

Yes, I care about the environment. Yes, I want a better life for my kids. Yes, I do in fact care about the little animals in the ocean. I also care about the disabled community who rely on straws to drink. Is it possible to do both in today's straw debate? I think so.

Many affected or potentially affected disabled people oppose an outright straw ban because it limits their ability to freely and cleanly drink their beverages while in public.

Common arguments against this are that there are adequate straw replacements for plastic, such as paper and metal. However, it is already a common complaint that paper straws disintegrate with certain drinks or before the drink can be finished, and that metal is too hot or cold for extreme temperature beverages, even with the non-metal tip some have.

It may be easy for you to cut plastic straws out of your life, but have some compassion. Have some empathy. You cannot imagine what someone must feel like when they are not able to drink their drink, especially in public.

A lifestyle change is necessary for all people. Some people have extremely sensitive teeth, so drinking a drink with ice without a straw is not an option unless they want searing pain in their teeth. Those who have disabilities that require them to drink with a straw so they can swallow the drink or just have some independence during their meal also could adapt to the new conditions.

And to those who say they just need to have the lifestyle change and bring their own, how many times do you forget your phone? Wallet? Chapstick? If you have a life-threatening allergy like I do, your EpiPen? So imagine how hard it would be it remember a miniscule straw every time you left the house. Furthermore, consider going into places like airports and major amusement parks, like Disney World, where there are metal detectors. You can't exactly just waltz in with metal, even if it is just a straw. Yeah, they MIGHT understand and let you bring it in, but far more reasonable items get confiscated every day.

Then what? If your reusable straw gets confiscated or you forget it at home, what are you to do at your restaurant? Just not drink for an entire meal? Be put into the awkward position of spilling your drink because the restaurant will not or can not give you a straw to drink from, even though you require one?

So no, I do not think that an outright ban on plastic straws is the best solution to this problem. Several places have instituted the policy of only giving straws when they are asked for, which is an ideal policy in my mind for this situation.

I personally hope they can find an alternative material for straws so that we can all enjoy a beverage through a straw if desired, even if we forget our reusable ones at home. Until then, though, denying people the right to a straw is wrong. Yes, Susan, you can probably go without a straw in your marg at Happy Hour for a bit until you suck it up and either buy a reusable straw or they come up with an effective alternative to plastic. However, I don't think that someone that physically cannot drink without a straw should be denied that privilege.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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