Today's Poll: Should plastic straws be banned?
This question really requires some context. Aside from the fact that disposable plastic products present a risk to our environment because of the longevity of plastic and the way these products are disposed of, from a practical perspective they increase the cost of whatever is dispensed in them. Think about it: a glass is paid for once; a plastic cup isn't re-used (in commercial scenarios) so the cost of cups and straws is included in the price of the beverage. One pays for each and every cup in straw each time one purchases a drink. Moreover, "banning" plastic straws does not necessarily mean "no straws." There are straws being produced and developed that are made of materials that are biodegradable. One really needs to envision the global amount of disposable products made of plastic that not only accumulate in our environment, but will remain in landfills, waterways and strewn about the landscape for eons. Ultimately when plastic DOES degrade over time it leaches toxic chemicals. So whether we return to reusable containers or substitute biodegradable materials for our single-use containers, there are alternatives to the current situation.
I grew up with paper straws, and if I remember correctly, they were waxed similarly to a paper cold cup. I seldom use straws, and I can see no downside to switching over to paper straws again. Th accordion style straw that could be bent without impeding beverage flow was the innovation of sorts.
One company has come up with edible/biodegradable beer can rings
Presumably the same could be done with straws.
But everything has an environmental impact. Paper vs. plastic bags, for example, are essentially an environmental-impact wash. We could produce non-plastic straws but that will have an impact on water and soil and air. Pick your poison.