18.06.25 Great Straw Debate

June 26, 2018

The Great Straw Debate

First, plastic bags.
Now, plastic straws?
Straw bans span coast to coast, but stir up questions.

Why Now?

Why Hate On Straws?

“Straws are a luxury, we do not need straws to have our drinks, and I think it’s an easy step forward where we can have a great impact for our environment.”

Brooklyn City Councilman Rafael Espinal who introduced a straw ban for America’s largest city in late May, following previous official bans in Seattle, Oakland & Miami Beach.

Flip: What Impact?

Impact? Data Debate

  • You’ll see this number A LOT: Americans use an est. 500,000,000 straws a day (that would mean every single American uses more than 1 straw a day).
  • That estimate is based on a 9-year-old’s research project.
  • Whatever the number, debate continues on whether straws are public enemy #1 for pollution.

The Last Straw?

  • Straw ban part of renewed focus on reducing plastic in the ocean. 60-80% of all marine debris is composed of plastic: WCS.
  • Study looking at efficacy of general plastic bans says initial results encouraging, but more research needed.
  • Other study: fishing gear, balloons & plastic bags = biggest threat to ocean life, doesn’t name straws.

The patent for the first straw was approved in 1888, but a patent for “drinking tubes” for disabled Americans came before that – another argument against the straw ban is it will hurt the disabled who depend on straws to drink.

by Jenna Lee,