The Last Straw

by Steve MacDonald

Drinking StrawSometimes you feel like a win, any win, is enough. Hey, what about banning drinking straws? They’re easy to use, convenient, people like them, but something about the environment.

Starbucks, the same company that very briefly brought us the opportunity to discuss race relations with their counter-people (pompously branded with the label barista), is leading a charge among globally known brands to end the use of plastic straws in our lifetime.

Other brands, including McDonald’s, have said they would play along in one form or another when they can. But with what do you replace a drinking straw and, this is key, is the replacement really better for the environment?

Scientists are working on the solution.

We’ve had this argument before. The ban the (single-use plastic) bag folks have a similar game plan. But the replacements for those have a significantly larger carbon footprint in production, in-use care, and disposal and on the whole are “worse” for the environment.

So what about replacements for plastic drinking straws?

I’ve no idea, but I guarantee you that no one cares about the CO2 cost of their replacements which is probably greater. (Did I mention that they don’t care?) CO2 footprints are for the people being deprived of drinking straws, affordable electric rates, and comfortable lifestyles.

This is about how forcing you to change your behavior makes them feel. Results, heck, facts, are secondary considerations.

Remember when the enviro-marketers used a picture of a polar bear on a piece of ice to make the case that polar bears and arctic ice were in danger. Neither is true (even decades later) but virtue-signaling among policymakers, pundits, and NGO’s who survive on grants and donations (probably paid for by you) ensued. Hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more, were diverted annually, statutes drafted, private jets flown, conferences held, speeches made.

The sum of these gesticulations amounted to nothing unless wasting money, growing the bureaucracy and expanding fringe activist communities that are now begging us to ban plastic drinking straws counts as a positive outcome. A movement whose vanguard has been lead by a picture of a sea Turtle with a drinking straw stuck in its nostril.

If only it were a polar bear, or a refugee, or a separated child of an illegal immigrant, instead of a turtle.

And what of plastic swizzle sticks or coffee stirs? Is it back to deforesting the great woods, which for decades was the bad deed before paper straws and wooden stir-sticks were replaced with plastic? Should we put the biomass plants in NH back to work making straws and stirs from waste-wood?

Replacement straws will most likely be made to the detriment of our woodsy landscapes and the woodland creatures that call them home. I guess that’s good for the environment now? Or are we just invoking the elite flip-flop with the same bipolar-bear indifference as CO2; more for me, none for you?

Perhaps there will be some tangential bonus to banning plastic straws like a reduction in cases of frozen-throat but how exactly does one consume a shake, frosty, or thick blended beverage without a reasonably rigid straw?

And with what, if we ban them all someday, will the virtue-signaling elites snort their cocaine? A hand-carved Fair-Trade wooden flute? Play me a song, Carmichael. Snnnnft – Toot!

Scientists are working on the solution.

Starbucks, who, instead of marketing a national program to hire homeless American’s or jobless vets chose to emphasize the hiring of refugees, has a new lid. The new lid (which uses more plastic than the old lid) will, presumably, provide an adequate experience. But I doubt it. I’ve tried to enjoy a can of soda after the can tab has accidentally broken off the can. It’s not possible.

I know it’s the same beverage but it ‘tastes’ different when the little tab isn’t bumping up against my upper lip. The experience feels foreign. Uncomfortable. A circumstance that can only be corrected with a cup or a straw, and you want to take away the straw.

 

Update: Made a few edits.

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