Drug users upset by plastic straw ban
“I might as well just give up, I’m losing a fortune”
The move away from plastic drinking straws to paper has sparked one of the most bizarre complaints registered with a company, quite possibly since the dawn of time.
Yorkshire–based commercial waste services company BusinessWaste.co.uk says that they’ve fielded a comment that claims the end of plastic straws is annoying COCAINE USERS because their paper replacements just aren’t up to the task. Whatever that task might be, we don’t know.
Says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall: “Some guy came up to one of our refuse operators and gave him the whole nine yards about how recycling and saving the oceans is messing up his drug habit, and he couldn’t believe his ears.”
But while this little slice of somebody’s misspent life may seem funny, the dash for paper straws does leave genuine concerns, especially for disabled people, he says.
Recreational drug user less than happy
BusinessWaste.co.uk’s Mark Hall says the bizarre confrontation happened one morning in London when one member of our team was confronted by a man in his twenties while going about his rounds.
Our operator was told that paper straws “are useless for cocaine” as – apparently – they collapse under the strain before the user satisfied.
“I might as well give up, I’m losing a fortune in white stuff,” we were told.
Our operator pointed the complainant to the local police station if he wished to take the matter further. “Unsurprisingly, we have heard nothing since”, says Hall, “but we’ve got nothing but praise for our employee’s calm, patience, and exemplary customer support”.
However, Hall says, our drug-addled friend has a point to make about paper straws – they’re not the solution for the current problem, and millions are not yet recyclable.
From milkshakes to landfill
There’s been a lot of press about the poor performance of paper straws, and some of it is entirely justified says BusinessWaste.co.uk
For example, the coating that’s on millions and millions of them are unsuitable for recycling, and the best method of disposing of them is either through incineration for landfill.
“And the last thing we want is even more rubbish buried in holes in the ground,” says Hall.
The complaints that they’re of no use to the millions of people who like a fast-food restaurant milkshake are also borne out by personal experience.
“The straws give up halfway down the cup,” says Hall. “You’re better off with a spoon.
“Seriously,” he says, “I hope that a true recyclable straw of sufficient structural integrity is on the way soon. It will be a genuine step forward in removing tons of waste from the system.”
Why disabled people still need plastic straws
While most of us are complaining about how poor-performing paper straws are bringing about the downfall of our civilisation, there’s one voice that’s being drowned out by this First World Problem.
There are significant numbers of disabled people who find paper straws difficult to use, and only a more rigid plastic straw will suffice in a drink.
With plastic straws being harder to find in pubs, bars and restaurants, it’s making life difficult for people who find it difficult to drink without one.
Paralympic gold medallist and disabled rights advocate Tanni Grey-Thompson feels strongly about this and tweeted: “What upsets me is the number of people who demand the ban on straws but no understanding of why they’re needed. And the assumption we hate the environment. It’s not all disabled people’s fault.
“This is not life or death, but if plastic straws are not available it could cause lots of medical issues.”
While metal straws aren’t great for hot drinks, and paper straws collapse too easily, not enough is being done to ensure that people who still need plastic straws can find them.
The alternative, Baroness Grey-Thomspon said in a television appearance last year, is that disabled people just won’t socialise or leave the house, and that’s even more expensive in human terms.
“Let’s use some common sense here,” says Business Waste’s Mark Hall. “The issue for some folk is far more important than people think.”
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