Editorial: Plenty of alternatives to plastic straws

Plastics have their place in our society, but right now there are far too many of them

The bottom line is that there is no need for plastic straws.

The City of Duncan recently considered a ban on this particular scourge on the environment, but have at least postponed such a move as they want to be able to properly address the needs of those who are disabled who must use a straw. This is really the only group that has to use any kind of straw. For the rest of us, it’s a choice.

And even for those who must use a straw, there are plenty of alternatives to the single-use plastic tube that all too often ends up on the ground as litter, or in a landfill.

Plastics have their place in our society, but right now there are far too many of them, and they are often serving no real purpose (like the three layers of packaging you have to cut through to get to a simple purchased item). Plastic straws fall into this category.

Instead of plastic, people who need or want to use a straw can carry their own bamboo, metal or glass one (Enviro Glass Straw in Cobble Hill makes and sells an array of glass straws). Some food outlets already give out paper straws instead of plastic, though we’d argue for something more in the reusable family. If metal gets too hot to use with hot beverages, and paper disintegrates, try out the bamboo or glass options. Perhaps restaurants can even stock a few reusable options for those who may forget their own straw.

With so many choices, there is no real reason to continue to allow the willy-nilly handing out of plastic straws to all comers. And if someone is really, really wedded to plastic straws, there’s nothing to say they can’t carry their own, they just won’t be handed one at the drop of a hat at every restaurant they enter.

We think if local governments on Vancouver Island are serious about this they will eventually have to legislate. Many don’t like to change unless they have to. This includes both people and businesses.

But we hope some will take this opportunity to get ahead of the curve and buy into the principle of the thing.

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