Bottom Line: Paper Straws are Not Disability Friendly

Photo Courtesy / Flickr Environmental activists pushed for the switch from plastic to paper straws without considering disabilities.

Dylan Murphy

Contributing Writer

Are paper straws disability-friendly?

On July 1, 2018, Seattle became the first city in the United States to ban plastic straws from restaurants.

Paper straws have now replaced this hazardous material, a fact ESU students may have noted at University Center dining services.

Starbucks is now looking to follow this movement and have all plastic straw removed from company stores in 2020.

“We tried using them to see how they would do and they were honestly gross. We also tried implementing sippy lids.

Those worked better” according to an anonymous Starbucks worker.

The banning of plastic straws may help our environment but it is not helping our disability community. Individuals with disabilities rely on plastic straws every day.

“Once costumers found out that we were removing plastic straws they were mad” according to Starbucks worker.

Individuals with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis and many others need plastic straws for their basic needs.

The movement of banning plastic straws came into light due to the murdering of sea turtles.

After a video of a plastic straw stuck inside a turtle’s nose went viral, companies started reacting.

The use of paper straws limits individuals with disabilities.

People with disabilities cannot perform drinking their essential beverages, such as water.

Paper straws are also very brittle and cannot withstand heat temperatures. Chomping down on a paper straw can lead to it to fall apart or create a hole.

Paper straws also will end up falling apart in any hot temperature beverage.

We live in a country that “embraces” the disability community.

The Americans With Disabilities Act is supposed allow that.

Ramps for handicapped individuals and handicapped parking are examples of this being used.

When you take away the use of paper straws you’re taking away their freedom. These straws impact their community every day.

When having a disability you must worry about things that others do not need to worry about. Adding the use of straws should not be one to add on their list.

“I think it is a pretty reasonable idea due to the fact of the large amounts of plastic used by Americans.” according to Senior Anthony Vavra

The use of paper straws is a help to improve our plastic use as a whole. Humans account for a half a billion straws used every day around the world.

Our environmental health is a big concern heard around the world. We still must take into account how these paper straws are replacing plastic ones.

“Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the paper straw though. I feel it lacks the sturdiness and reliability of a plastic straw.

I have noticed that if you leave the paper straw in the liquid for too long it becomes soggy and unusable.” according to Vavra.

Instead of completely banning the use of plastic straws we can set a compromise for our disability community. These straws impact their everyday lives.

At the end of the day, paper straws are not disability friendly.

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