The Straw Ban Isn't Perfect, But It's A Good Start
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The Plastic Straw Ban Isn't Going To Save The World, But At Least It's A Start

We can use this momentum for ACTUAL change.

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The Plastic Straw Ban Isn't Going To Save The World, But At Least It's A Start
Alexis Mills

If you haven't heard, recently big companies like Starbucks and Marriott have started to make strides in saving the environment by declaring that they will be phasing out plastic drinking straws from their establishments. The internet immediately rejoiced over the news because, on the surface, it seems like a great thing — finally, companies are taking the initiative to help the environment and reduce single-use plastics in landfills! The less plastic the better, right?!?

Wrong. Sort of.

While single-use plastics ARE a problem, straws make up a very tiny percentage of plastic pollution. Like, VERY tiny. So while the intent of doing the right thing is there, in actuality, the ban of straws from places like Starbucks is quite ineffective. A for effort, D- for execution, Starbs.

On top of the reduction of straws being almost pointless in actually changing the world for the better, many disabled people have cried out against the ban. For many with disabilities that make sipping out of a cup difficult, they rely on straws to make their lives easier. Plastic straws, as opposed to alternative kinds of straws like metal or bamboo, are inexpensive, pose no danger of injury, are adjustable and can withstand heat. So to those with disabilities, to focus on banning straws seems to be an ableist oversight, as many of us seem to take our able-bodied lives for granted and have failed to acknowledge what demonizing and banning plastic straws means for those who actually need them.

So, overall, this ban is pretty unhelpful. It is going to do very little and will inconvenience those who rely on straws to live —essentially, it's really just a publicity stunt for huge corporations to look like they care, when the reality is that this whole ban benefits no one but themselves, really.

That being said... this ban is not the worst place to start. While the actual execution of saving the environment in this instance is poor, it's putting it into our minds. It's forcing us to TALK about it, to discuss why this isn't going to work and what ways actually will. The ban is making the average consumer that much more aware of how even something as simple as throwing away a straw can have a negative impact (albeit minuscule) and how there are ulterior ways to consume without ruining the earth.

Moreover, the focus on the disabled and how this will affect them is a great way to check the privilege of able-bodied citizens. We far too often fail to consider how actions that seem fine to us can affect those who have different lives than us, so at least this ban could have the effect of making that mode of thinking more prevalent.

Ultimately, Starbucks and Marriott and all the other companies on this bandwagon aren't really going to save the world. But it's somewhere to start getting the ball rolling on reducing plastic waste and that's what matters.

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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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