Proposed plastic straw ban should receive further consideration

Plastic drinking straws (pictured above) have recently been at the center of discussion regarding environmental conservation. With efforts to phase them out entirely, it is important to keep in mind exactly what that would entail (courtesy of Creative commons). 

The Earth is our one and only home, which makes it extremely important to support efforts to better it. Buying reusable containers, bags and water bottles should always be a priority. 

With this in mind, it’s easy to hop on board the current green trend and support the ban on all plastic straws. We should be hesitant, however, to completely let go of the plastic that makes milkshakes so enjoyable.

Americans overuse plastic straws and should limit production of them in order to lift a huge weight off of Mother Nature’s back–there’s no doubt about it. In 2017 alone, Americans used 390 million plastic straws every day, according to a study conducted by the Freedonia Group. 

Due to their size, plastic straws can’t be recycled, according to The Washington Post. This results in millions of pieces of plastic ending up in landfills, leaving animals vulnerable to harmful human effects. Oftentimes, creatures eat the straw or get stabbed by the material, forcing them to live with a mangled body just because someone wanted a straw in their drink.

Completely eliminating plastic straws isn’t as easy as it may sound, though. Since these suckers have been around since the 1880s, straws are everywhere today: in movie theaters, restaurants and bars. Taking the beloved straw away so suddenly could result in uproar from both those who want, and also need straws. 

Many people with disabilities aren’t able to independently drink without straws, according to NPR. Banning them wouldn’t only be unfair, but also unjust to those who need them.

A national program similar to one policy from California could be a step in the right direction. This rule states that stores and pharmacies must charge customers for each plastic bag they use, according to The Los Angeles Times. Paying to use straws would discourage people from using them, decreasing the number in circulation.

Though the thought of paying for an item that was once free may upset some people, it allows individuals who want straws to get them while mitigating the waste of plastic by people who don’t care either way. This change would also allow people who need straws to easily access them. 

In addition to cutting out much of the pollution creatted by these hard-to-recycle straws, there are other plastic items we should avoid using in order to make up for the straws still in use. Some of these articles include bottle caps, cigarette butts and food wrappers, as reported by Bustle. These difficult-to-recycle plastics will cover the earth one piece at a time unless the effort is made to limit production of harmful plastic items.

Instead of completely getting rid of straws altogether, we should re-evaluate the necessity straws have in our daily lives.