I guess that it is the last straw for plastic straws. Many environmentalists are working to get them banned.
While Connecticut has yet to jump on this bandwagon, several cities around the U.S. and world are. According to an article in the New York Times entitled Bans on Plastic Straws in Restaurants Expand to More Cities, Seattle, Malibu, Fort Meyers and Miami Beach are some of the cities that have either “banned or limited the use of plastic straws.”
This, the article says, is the first step in fighting the “plastic problem.” Plastic straws are often only used once before getting thrown away. Since they are plastic, the article says they are put into a landfill where they don’t “naturally degrade.”
And, just think about how many times you use plastic straws. If you get an iced coffee or an iced tea from Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts nearly everyday, that’s equals about six or seven straws that you use a week. Then, if you multiply it by four, that’s about 25 straws per month. This, equals 300 a year. And, this is just one person in a year’s time. I can’t even imagine how many straws everyone in the world uses.
The fight against plastic straws have now become a worldwide effort. For instance, the article says that Scotland plans to be “rid of” plastic straws by 2019. Other countries, such as Taiwan are in the process of banning “single use plastic items” such as straws, cups and shopping bags by 2030.
Furthermore, even global brands are getting involved in the fight as well. McDonald’s is paving the way to get rid of their plastic straws. According to an article on Delish entitled McDonald’s is Phasing Out Plastic Straws, 1,300 locations across the U.K. are testing out paper straws in the effort to be more “environmentally friendly.”
While the current plastic straws the chain uses are recyclable, the article says that they often don’t end up in the right place to recycle them.
This, according to the article, is McDonald’s first step to in its’ “global strategy” to make all “guest packaging come from renewable or certified sources by 2025.” Some of the next changes will include making cup lids recyclable for both hot and cold drinks. Another goal, the article says, is to recycle guest packing in 100 percent of McDonald’s restaurants by the same year.
These new straws, the article says, will enforce a new procedure as well. Instead of getting a straw automatically in the bag, employees will ask if customers want a straw during the ordering process.
With that being said, I wonder how this is going to work. Many people are accustomed to getting their straws with their food since their Happy Meal Days. Chances are, we’re not going to think about asking for a straw. Why? We are so used to not having to do so. Therefore, because we’re not used to asking for them, we might not think to do so. Thus, the consumer will have one of two options. The first is to go back and get a straw. The second is to just drink your beverage without one.
Other than that one issue, I do think that this is a good effort to making us more environmentally friendly. We as a human culture use a lot of plastic. Making these little changes — even something as small as a straw — could have the biggest impact. Therefore, maybe remembering to ask for a straw isn’t the biggest of deals in the end.
I guess the question “do you want fries with that” will be followed with “do you want a straw with that.”