THE TALON

Pros and Cons of the Straw Ban

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Mt. Pleasant is well on its way to becoming a more environmentally friendly city by April 2019. Following in the footsteps of other states such as New York, South Carolina has vowed to fully ban products such as Styrofoam and single use plastic bags, along with issuing the infamous straw “ban”. Without completely ceasing their use, restaurants and distributors of straws will now only provide straws if specifically requested by customers.

Although SC has not jumped to banning straws all together, several companies such as Starbucks and McDonald’s have already taken a pledge to stop using this product within the next few years. This small step to a cleaner environment may help reduce the amount of plastic in the ocean, but with good intentions may come some unnoticed problems.

Pros of the Straw Ban:

  • Finding alternatives to plastic
    • Advocates of the straw ban usually are in favor of eliminating plastic for good, and with this new ban, some alternatives have already been found that could potentially be used to replace other plastic products. Biodegradable paper straws have already been picked up by straw-free companies, and they still offer a single-use purpose without harming the environment.
  • Less harm to animals
    • A video of a sea turtle getting a straw removed from its nose helped spark the idea for the straw ban. Small pieces of plastic are easily ingested by marine animals and have the potential to cause major damage. Beginning to eliminate straws could possibly prevent more plastic ingestion.
  • Less pollution
    • Straws are easily one of the most disposed pieces of plastic. Reports of hundreds of thousands of straws have been found in clean-ups, adding up with the endless piles of trash also found during these sweeps. If fewer people use straws, then fewer of them will be found in the environment.

Cons of the Straw Ban:

  • People with disabilities are at a disadvantage
    • People with motor disabilities need straws in order to drink, and implementing a policy to ban them could leave these people without a way of drinking. Metal straws may act as a substitute, but some disabled people have voiced that they are too rough or do not have a bendy function that they need.
  • Reusable metal straws
    • Metal straws are a popular alternative to plastic ones, but they are certainly not the same as the latter. Unlike plastic, metal straws will heat up with hot liquids and they require cleaning so that they will not be unsanitary. Not to mention that bringing a reusable straw with you at all times is definitely not a usual habit, and moments of forgetfulness are bound to happen.

With major companies issuing a straw ban, it is important to be informed on the reasoning behind it and the possible disadvantages. Paper straws seem to be the best substitute for plastic, and they solve some of the problems as mentioned before such as heat problems and providing bendy functions for disabled people. Mt. Pleasant’s move to becoming a semi-strawless city could also be a big move in a step in conservation.

 

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