The Argument Against the Plastic Straw Ban

2018 will be known as the year of the single-use plastics ban. Countries around the world have implemented legislations and policies that would impose a tax, fine, or punishment for people using single-use plastic items (think: disposable plastic bags, straws, utensils), all in the name of tackling the issue of waste in their countries and protecting the environment.

Photo Credit_ Getty Images _ Alicia Llop (1)

The latest trend that has been picking up a lot of media attention is the ban on single-use plastic straws. If you live in NYC, the #GiveASip campaign launched earlier this year to encourage people to pledge to give up using single-use plastic straws, which also encouraged restaurants throughout the city to phase out plastic straws and substitute them with more eco-friendly options.

In early July Starbucks announced that it would ban plastic straws in all of its chains by 2020. That garnered a lot of attention from both sides of the aisle, supporters of the #BeatPlasticPollution movement as well as those who are typically not adequately represented in the media or considered by big companies. Many disability rights groups have voiced their concerns about the impending ban, as some individuals in the disabled community require straws to drink beverages without an aid.

It goes without saying that this is a valid concern, and that the straw alternatives out there may not be ideal for all consumers: Pyrex glass straws or stainless steel straws may be difficult for some consumers who may have difficulty controlling their jaw muscles, and paper straws sometimes are not built to last in a beverage for a long period of time. There are some alternatives that exist in the market, such as silicone straws, and other innovative companies that are producing biodegradable or compostable straws (check out this plant-based plastic straw!)

When it comes to the plastic straw ban, it is important for companies to consider all populations when making these huge decisions. If one is to take away single-use plastic straws from stores, they can not forget about 15% of the world’s population and must come up with viable solutions for them too.