Should plastic drinking straws be banned? We’re not going to lie to you, this has been a contentious and popular topic of late. For decades, Americans have become quite accustomed to plastic straws at fast food restaurants, gas stations, and other convenience stores. It’s so ingrained in our culture, taking it away might sound awful if not tyrannical. At the same time, few stop to think how many plastic straws are used a day and what affect it has on the environment as a whole. Many American cities, however, have stepped up to combat what they see as a big problem. Still, is that a good idea? We’re here to hash that all out.
Once again, List25 is here to answer your questions and debate the issue in another series we call Deathmatch. List25 editors, Jason and Crystal, are back for another round, with Jason arguing that plastic straws should be banned and Crystal arguing against it.
Yes: Straws are mostly worthless.
Straws help really little kids and the disabled, but for the rest of us, we can drink any liquid perfectly fine without a straw. Yet, for some reason, every fast food joint and restaurant decided everyone should get an unlimited supply of free plastic straws. Straws serve very little purpose. If you don’t need them, stop using them. – JI
No: Paper straws and other alternatives aren't much better.
Paper straws disintegrate while you’re using them, especially if using hot liquids. Not to mention, paper in a landfill doesn’t typically biodegrade like you might think; it mummifies. Bamboo is much more expensive to produce, and metal can break teeth (I can imagine the law suits now). –CC
Yes: Straws are a wasteful luxury.
All those plastic straws at fast food restaurants are a wasteful luxury. The lids prevent spills, sure, but you can still drink out of a glass with a lid and not a straw. Even if, heaven forbid, there’s a spill, there’s a magical tool called a rag that can clean it up. Straws are made for convenience and laziness. – JI
Yes: They cause gas and bloating.
So you just devoured a Big Mac, salty fries, and slurped down your Coke with a plastic straw. Not long after, you’re feeling sick, bloated, and gassy. You blame it on the fast food and the pop, of course, but I have news for you. It’s the straw. Gas in your digestive track usually comes from excess air sucked in while drinking. When you suck through a straw, it creates more excess air in your body, creating gas and bloating. If you stop drinking from straws, you’ll probably stop being so gassy. – JI
No: It would leave the disabled at a disadvantage.
Did you know the straw was originally designed to help the disabled? Before the creation of the plastic straw, plenty of sanitary issues arose with reusable silicon feeding tubes. Substitutes such as metal and paper don’t provide the same help, and they can also cause other problems. –CC