Not All Straws Are Strays

In response to Marsha Low’s column, “Make It the Last Straw” in the November 2017 Shuttle:

Waste from unused/unneeded disposable aids, paper and plastic, is indeed colossal. Over-generous pulls on toilet paper or tissues is sloppy.

However, some products are true boons to function. Disposable plastic straws often are in that category.

Individuals of all ages, babes to elderly persons, may be compromised in their ability to ingest liquids. 

Glass breaks and truly lasts forever. Flimsy paper cylinders get squashed. Straws cannot be readily scrubbed. They may be rinsed but not fully cleansed. They develop mold.

To ask that disposable straws be available only on request seems sensible. But requiring prescriptions would overburden the professional personnel and record-keeping apparatus of pharmacies and medical offices. A simple swallow of water could become be a bureaucratic nightmare.

We do need better materials, better ways to dispose of spent/unsanitary trash, better incentives for thoughtful use of stuff. At last bags are getting attention. Attitudes to consumption make a difference.

Dena Dannenberg