This page is a work in progress. New links and memes providing information on the limits and dangers of straw ban campaigns will be added as they become available. I’m sure this isn’t the last word on the absurd campaign to ban plastic straws.
(oh, and just try to get these environmentalists to care as much about fragrances they and others use that pollute the environment and make it impossible for DISfolx with chemical sensitivity to function. Where’s THAT environmental movement?)
Plastic straw bans are a feel good response to the crisis in the environment, but individual consumer environmentalism, even campaigns to ban specific products won’t resolve the crisis. This campaign is especially odd as it requires almost no change in behavior or sacrifice on the part of those banning or calling for a ban on plastic straws. For those who don’t need straws to drink, this feel good solution is a poor substitute for real social policy change and does nothing to challenge the enormous corporate and capitalist threat to the entire planet. The fact that McDonalds has stopped offering plastic straws to its customers speaks loudly to how ineffective and insignificant this movement is and how little a threat it is to some of the biggest polluters on the plant. On the other hand, DISabled activists have given ample feedback to this movement, met with a predictable and outraged “ableist bingo” of refrains and total lack of concern for the wellbeing of a significant number of living, breathing, drinking, eating, people.
The disposability of human beings is a much bigger environmental issue than plastic straws.
Straw Ban Ableist Bingo:
For a breakdown of each of these bingo squares:
- Plastic straws: Call for government to rethink policy
A woman with cerebral palsy has called for the government to consider the need of disabled people before bringing in a ban on plastic straws.
Ellie Simpson, from Chesterfield, who set up her own charity, said politicians had not given proper consideration to people with disabilities who rely on plastic over other alternatives.
- Reversing Climate Change Is A Plastic Straw Away.
Published on Jul 9, 2018
****New! Just added***
- “It seems like straws have been chosen because it seems so easy to do – because who needs a straw? I’ve seen all kinds of campaigns, including telling people to “stop sucking”, meaning both ways – literally stop sucking on a straw to drink because figuratively you suck because you’re damaging the planet. Quite simply, I suck. That’s how I drink because my mobility issues mean that I can’t reliably lift a cup to my lips. And I’m definitely not alone. There are many, many, people like me. For a myriad of disability related reasons, there are a large number of people who drink through a straw. At home, I drink through what I call an adult sippy cup – it’s a water bottle with a straw built into it. It goes everywhere with me, but when I eat out, or if I’ve forgotten it, I’d like to be able to look like everyone else and not put my damn sippy cup on the table!”
Let’s Ban Everything – and damn the consequences!
Straws: it really means accessibility and respect
“we are the experts. We have what’s known as the “lived experience” – we are experts in our own lives. We research. We problem solve. We network with each other. When we say something doesn’t work for us, we know that something doesn’t work for us, because we have tried it and failed, and moved on to find the better solution.”
4 things we learned about plastic straw bans from people with disabilities
“Overarching lesson: We need to be better about listening to people with lived experiences different from our own and including them in policy changes that affect their lives.”
BANNING STRAWS WON’T SAVE THE OCEANS
“Instead of shaming disabled consumers who rely on straws, let’s hold producers of plastic financially responsible for their waste.”
The #StrawBan is The Latest Policy Abled Allies are Choking On
“If you follow me on twitter, you’ve observed as I fielded a barrage of tweets from “environmentalists” insisting that isolation and eugenicists practices weren’t the intent of the ban and that policy makers and companies probably didn’t think of disabled people.
Why is that better?
Also, their intent doesn’t matter in comparison to their impact.
Worse yet, why didn’t these people think that one-fifth of their customer/constituent base didn’t exist? The straw ban is the symptom of a much larger problem: marginalized stories and histories are unimportant to people that have far too much power over their lives.
Straws were originally used in hospitals and nursing facilities to keep people hydrated and were popularized by shake shops and fast food restaurants. Essentially abled people gentrified the straw for commercial reasons and are now trying to restrict access to them now that shallow environmentalism has popularized their ban. Realistically, banning them doesn’t make a dent in conservation and can end up keeping disabled people isolated and forgotten. True conservation requires caring for people first so that they have the energy to join you in the fight. No one is saying disabled people don’t like the environment, but our ability to live and quality of life comes first.”
Being Disabled isn’t Eco Friendly: Get Off Our Backs and Put In The Work
“Environmentalism can be used as a shield. Kind of the “All Lives Matter” of advocacy but true activists know that it requires more than simply recycling plastics or banning straws, but racial, social, economic, and disability justice to make true strides to environmental stewardship. People for whom it is a struggle to live day to day aren’t going to invest emotional, financial or logistical resources to thinking about the next 100-200 years. So, sorry, you may have avoided taking sides on poverty, the minimum wage, healthcare or Black Lives Matter, but you’re going to have to care about people that are different from you. The environment requires it.”
We Seriously Have To Talk About Straws??
“And this is why white liberal activism is so exhausting. The environmentalists originally chose the plastic straw issue, because it seemed like an easy win that wouldn’t hurt anybody. When the disabled community spoke up and said, “Actually, it hurts us!” that should have been the end of the conversation. That was the cue for the environmentalists to say, “Oh, our bad, no problem, we’ll pick a different thing.”
But, no. Instead, they get mad at us for letting our negative impact get in the way of their good intentions. We aren’t awarding them Good Person Points, and they want their Good Person Points! It doesn’t matter that they’re trampling on a marginalized community to get them.
People like being advocates for the environment and animals. You know why? It’s easy. Relative to activism and allyship for groups of humans, I mean. The environment doesn’t talk back and tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Animals don’t tell you that your good intentions were misguided and they’d like you to take a step back and let them define their own needs. Humans are so much messier and more complex.”
- This article really breaks down the eugenics that is very problematic in general in the environmental movement.
“Picking a fight over straws may seem nonsensical, but the larger low-waste and zero-waste movements, which tend to be overwhelmingly white and nondisabled, frequently single out products that benefit the disability community, like straws or pre-cut fruits and veggies, as a wasteful use of natural resources. It’s a two-part logic: One, the planet’s resources are limited and growing scarcer, and two, the way to control that is by cutting back on the use of nonrenewables. This does little to explore which humans are using the majority of resources on Earth and where the real choke points of waste lie. And it feeds insidious attitudes about who should be “allowed” to use the resources that are available.”
VALUABLE RESOURCES: THE ABLEIST FIGHT OVER PLASTIC STRAWS
“I don’t see any reason why we waste resources on severely retarded people,” someone asked in the popular r/changemyview subreddit in 2014. “Why would we ever spend our resources on something like this rather then [sic] people that will benefit far more from them?” The harsh question netted over 300 replies with many people debating whether euthanasia is a “merciful” solution for people who are “not really human beings.” A few commenters said that the entire conversation dehumanized disabled people. Ultimately, the original poster concluded: “Even though my view on the burden on society remain unchanged, you’re right that there’s probably no real way to implement [a way to make value judgements on who should be allowed to live and die].”
While the original question is reprehensible, the conversation echoes a largely held opinion in the environmental movement about who “deserves” resources. The assumption that disabled lives are worth less is at the core of these conversations, and a failure to reckon with that warped premise alienates the disability community. Implying that nondisabled people need and deserve more resources than disabled people also distracts from finding real solutions to issues such as climate change, resource scarcity, and pollution.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the current fight over plastic straws, a cause célèbre of the environmental movement. “Stop sucking,” a cheeky environmental campaign exhorts, noting that millions of straws end up in the trash, and often the ocean, every year. A heartrending video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw sticking out of its nose has become emblematic for the war on straws, just as chilling images of birds ensnared in six-pack rings pushed consumers to demand changes to beer and soda packaging in the 1990s.”
“Living with a disability means having to worry about things on a daily basis that never cross other people’s minds. It means worrying about whether somebody will come to help you get out of bed in the morning. It means a morning commute completely derailed by an elevator outage. Living with a disability means only being able to travel to cities where accessible transportation is an option. Living with a disability takes a lot of planning and energy and learning how to exist in a world that is not made for you. I’d rather not add, “Will they have a straw?” to my list of worries every time I go out for a cup of tea.
People with a huge range of disabilities depend on plastic straws to access beverages and the very water they need to survive: cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis, among many others. For so many people with disabilities, something as mundane as a straw represents independence and freedom. And the conversation around their environmental impact, without consideration of who uses straws and why, demonstrates how people with disabilities are often forgotten.”
Straw Ban Leaves Disabled Community Feeling High and Dry
“Requiring people with disabilities to treat a routine fast-food trip as something that requires planning and supplies is an unplanned failure in equity, when these restaurants could just as easily offer them upon request to individuals who need them. Disability is already very expensive, and many people are forced to carry around large amounts of equipment or types of medication and devices. Adding another specialized device, simply for them to be able to hydrate themselves, is an undue burden, and an unfortunate effect of this law,”
There’s an unexpected downfall to banning plastic straws. Here’s what to consider.
“The next time someone comes to you with a concern, especially if it relates to inclusion or accessibility, try to make a real effort to actually hear what they have to say, and then maybe ask yourself why something like banning a plastic straw is so important to you, anyway.
If we can’t take care of each other, we can’t take care of the earth. So let’s start there.”
Curiosity: Vancouver’s Straw Ban – Another Barrier and Another Excuse For Non-Disabled People to Shame, Marginalize, Interrogate and Demonstrate They Don’t Care About Discrimination Against Disabled People
“The City had originally planned to ban other items, such as single-use plastic utensils but after concerns were raised during consultation, that was changed to opt in – meaning provided only if requested by the customer. In contrast, as a result of consultation the opt-in for plastic straws was changed to a ban in part because “staff concluded that a customer prompt or by-request by-law was not practical…””
- https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/universal-plastic-straw-ban-disabled-people/ Why a universal plastic straw ban is actually bad for people with disabilities
“Metal and bamboo straws are too strong, and can cause injury for people with Parkinson’s. Bio-degradable alternatives often can’t be used above a certain temperature, so aren’t usable with hot drinks, or soup. The leading manufacturer of bio-degradable straws in the UK, Plastico, produces straws that can’t be used with liquids above 40 degrees, while the average Starbucks coffee is served at 70. Paper straws are often used as an alternative, and Szymkowiak says that “disabled people can take longer to drink and paper straws become soggy which is a choking hazard.” This can be exacerbated for people with learning difficulties who may not notice the deterioration. They are also inflexible, a problem for people with mobility issues.”
(Temperatures are in celcius. 40˚C = 104˚F 70˚C = 158˚F)
Plastic Straws Aren’t the Problem: Skipping straws may be hip. But there are much better ways to fight pollution.
” Straws make up a trifling percentage of the world’s plastic products, and campaigns to eliminate them will not only be ineffective, but could distract from far more useful efforts.”
BANNING STRAWS WON’T SAVE THE OCEANS: Instead of shaming disabled consumers who rely on straws, let’s hold producers of plastic financially responsible for their waste.
“There’s nothing wrong with pushing people to be more environmentally conscious. But individual action is not going to save our oceans. Our industrial systems continue to flood waste facilities with plastics, big and small. From there, plastics flow into rivers and streams and are carried into the sea. We need to look at the systems that generate these plastics, and hold producers financially responsible for safe disposal. Let’s put our efforts where the money is, rather than shaming disabled consumers who just want an accessible drink of water.”
I rely on plastic straws and baby wipes. I’m disabled – I have no choice