Starbucks has received praise from environmentalists for planning to replace plastic straws with sippy-cup style lids by 2020, but according to Investor’s Business Daily this straw ban won’t actually help the environment, but will discriminate against the disabled instead.
Plastic straws are considered bad because some end up in the ocean, but IBD said the environmentalists who aggressively push the straw ban use phony statistics.
“Almost every story on banning plastic straws cites the same statistic — that Americans use 500 million straws a day — which is based on a 9-year-old’s ‘research’ project he did in 2011. A more reliable estimate is 175 million,” IBD said. “Whatever the number, straw bans in the U.S. will have virtually no impact on the world’s plastic pollution problem.”
The U.S. itself accounts for less than 1% of the marine plastic in the world’s oceans, according to a 2015 study in the journal Science.
“Europe’s coastal countries, by contrast, account for almost 3%,” IBD said. “Just five countries — China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka — are responsible for more than half of the plastic entering the ocean each year.”
On top this, Reason magazine’s Christian Britschgi said the replacement lid Starbucks is likely to use contains up to 15% more plastic than the current lid-and-straw combination, so the company may use more plastic than before the ban.
“But while Starbucks’ ban will do nothing for the environment, it will bring harm to the disabled community, who have been speaking out more aggressively against straw bans,” IBD said.
“People with a huge range of disabilities depend on plastic straws to access beverages and the very water they need to survive: cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis, among many others,” Karin Hitselberger wrote in the Washington Post. “For so many people with disabilities, something as mundane as a straw represents independence and freedom. And the conversation around their environmental impact, without consideration of who uses straws and why, demonstrates how people with disabilities are often forgotten.”