Healthy Living

Why Banning Drinking Straws Upsets Muscular Dystrophy Patients

Gilbert has fought for plastic straws, but he has met with a lot of disagreement

Daniel Gilbert has attempted to fight for plastic and educate people on why it is the most efficient material. Unfortunately, he is often met with people who disagree. 

“I’d be more than happy to use more environmentally friendly straws,” Gilbert said. “[The disability community] isn’t trying to be anti-environment. We’re just protecting disabled people.”         

When questioned about how they planned to make regular accommodations for their disabled patrons, Starbucks said in an email “[c]ustomers are still able to get a straw — made from alternative materials — and we will work with the disability community to ensure we continue to meet their needs going forward.”         

While this sounds like Starbucks is willing to work with the disabled community and learn what new steps they can take to accommodate them, only time will tell. There are still no answers about what "alternative materials" means or if the plastic straws would still be available in a case-by-case basis.

The London Plane, which is a restaurant in Seattle, began to use compostable plastic straws before Seattle instituted the ban, which means that they could have inadvertently stumbled on the perfect compromise.

However, not everyone agrees. Kate Melges, who is a plastics campaigner at the environmental group Greenpeace USA, claims that the supposedly environmentally-friendly straws still pose a threat to the environment. This is mainly because they need to be burned at high temperatures in order to be broken down. While this process can be done, doing so will cause air pollution.

“You can’t just throw them in your garden,” Mealges added.