Disabled people
If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

How would the plastic straw ban affect you?

JamesTaylorJamesTaylor Member Posts: 1 Listener
edited May 2018 in Disabled people

Hi everyone, I'm James, Head of Policy and Campaigns here at Scope and this is my first post!

Last month the Government announced its intention to ban a range of disposable plastics, including straws, to protect the environment from pollution.

The Government have said they will consult on the proposed ban later this year.

We know that for some disabled people, plastic straws are an important utensil to living independently and other materials don’t always match up.

plastic straws

Importantly, the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs have said that they intend to include a range of exemptions to the ban, including the need to use of plastic straws for medical reasons. It’s important this remains the case so that disabled people who rely on plastic straws aren’t disadvantaged.

Ahead of the consultation, me and the team would love to hear your views on the proposals and your experiences. 

 Look forward to hearing and reading your responses. 

Replies

  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Great to see you here @JamesTaylor :)
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 1,756 Listener
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,906 Disability Gamechanger
    What about reusable straws?
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
  • mossycowmossycow Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    I've been looking into this for a while.

    If anyone can show me some reusable straws that bend in the right place, don't desolve in your mouth and actually  fit in the holes.... I'd be glad to see them. 

    But I have scoured the Internet and not found them yet. 

    Some metal straws.... But they were impossible to keep clean and bashed my mount. 


    I honestly don't know why straws are considered a big enough impact on the environment for all this fuss to be honest. Surely ready meal containers, cotton buds, disposable razors etc are as bad.!? 


    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger

    From the Metro

    Britain uses around 8.5 billion of them a year and America uses over 500 million a day.
    According to StrawlessOcean.org around 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs and if plastic is ingested, marine life has just a 50% chance of survival. Every year about 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans and in 2025, the annual input is estimated to be about twice that. Straws contribute a lot to that figure, and feature in the top 10 items found in coastal clean-ups.

    I totally understand the need to ban the mass use of something having such a huge impact on the environment, but hopefully the government will have a concession for disabled people who need them for every day life. 

    One concern I have seen on twitter is that the ban will up the price of straws and that cost will be passed onto disabled people who are already face extra costs of £570 a month related to their impairment or condition.


    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • GainaGaina Member Posts: 133 Pioneering
    When my Dad was having Chemo, I bought him a pack of silicone straws that came with a little cleaning brush for £3 on Amazon. @Victoriad I agree with you on waxed paper ones.

    I'm sure some whizz-kids will spot an opportunity to design a new type of reusable straw than helps disabled users too. 😊
  • cassolotlcassolotl Member Posts: 1 Listener
    edited May 2018
    I have EDS and I'm autistic, so my ability to eat and drink isn't really affected by my disability. I prefer to drink without straws because putting the straw in my mouth feels gross (probably autism sensory stuff?) to the extent that when I found out orange juice was eroding my teeth I just stopped drinking it instead of getting a straw.

    Thinking hypothetically about a world in which I like or need straws, my ability (or lack thereof) to wash and maintain something like a reusable straw would be the biggest issue. My support worker would have to wash them for me, I think? When I have no support worker I would have to accept (hopefully paper) disposable straws, and I would want the cafe to compost them so that they don't make methane (20x worse than CO2 environmentally speaking) in landfill. And a reusable straw would be yet another thing to carry with me when I go out, but I already carry a spork and chopsticks (which I don't struggle to clean). The one-off cost of a reusable straw wouldn't be an issue for me.
  • magunra2kmagunra2k Member Posts: 43 Connected
    the banning of plastic straws in the UK will have zero impact on marine wildlife ingesting plastic, lets be honest the plastics dumped at sea are the issues and as far as im aware the UK doesnt routinely dump its waste in the sea, it goes to land fill or gets recycled. the nations polluting the sea are not going to stop and its highly unlikely that the USA will follow our example and they are a far worse consumer of plastics than the UK and the rest of Europe, this is a global problem and needs a global answer.
  • WaylayWaylay Member Posts: 922 Pioneering
    A funny: A friend of mine saw the title of this thread on my screen and said, "Ack! I won't be able to do drugs anymore!" ;)
  • GainaGaina Member Posts: 133 Pioneering
    magunra2k said:
    the banning of plastic straws in the UK will have zero impact on marine wildlife ingesting plastic, lets be honest the plastics dumped at sea are the issues and as far as im aware the UK doesnt routinely dump its waste in the sea, it goes to land fill or gets recycled. the nations polluting the sea are not going to stop and its highly unlikely that the USA will follow our example and they are a far worse consumer of plastics than the UK and the rest of Europe, this is a global problem and needs a global answer.

    You'd be shocked just how much of our plastic does end up in the sea, and how far it travels once it gets caught up in major oceans currents. Thankfully, the amount of plastic bags being washed up on our beaches and retrieved from the ocean floor has already begun to decline thanks to the 5p charge on bags. 😊 It's not just marine life that suffers, either; every year our mammals and waterfowl like swans end up in wildlife rehabilitation centres having become entangled in discarded plastic too.
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    To me this sounds like another stupid government idea that gives the appearance of doing something without doing anything and having little or no effect on anything. If I needed to use straws I would be upset by such a move as I am for the idea of taxing sugary drinks.

    The government is wasting a little of it's budget on something that will have no effect rather than spending a reasonable amount on something that would actually have some effect. Pathetic government is a phrase that comes to mind.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • sam12sam12 Posts: 1,338 Member
    Ali express sells plastic I can still get
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 1,756 Listener
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • sam12sam12 Posts: 1,338 Member
    Whats wrong with plastic?
  • SimonPSimonP Member Posts: 9 Connected
    Back in my youth, straws were made of waxed paper. Not perfect I know but I can't abide the reusable ones. Amazon have them.
  • GainaGaina Member Posts: 133 Pioneering
    edited June 2018
    sam12 said:
    Whats wrong with plastic?

    Plastic causes immediate harm to a wide variety of wildlife (for example, turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish-their main food source - and choke), which has a knock-on effect for the animals that predate them, like Bull sharks and other apex predators which are essential to a healthy ecosystem. Also, a huge amount of fossil fuel is needed for its production which accelerates man-made climate change.
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    @Gaina, personally I have always made the effort to recycle as much as possible, even to the point of taking rubbish home. Assuming the council do actually deal with it properly then things should not get too bad. I know that plastic is harder to handle but I cannot see banning plastic straws making any sort of significant difference.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • GainaGaina Member Posts: 133 Pioneering
    Topkitten said:
    @Gaina, personally I have always made the effort to recycle as much as possible, even to the point of taking rubbish home. Assuming the council do actually deal with it properly then things should not get too bad. I know that plastic is harder to handle but I cannot see banning plastic straws making any sort of significant difference.

    TK

    Plastic straws contribute significantly to ocean pollution, they get everywhere because they're so light. They're also regularly found in the remains of sea birds like gannets. This video  is a stark example of the damage they do to turtles, which as I said previously are eaten by other creatures like sharks which then become contaminated. 

    There's an increasingly large body of evidence that ingesting plastic also has an impact on the fertility of aquatic life which is yet another blow to the food chain, which includes us.

    Many local councils (including my own) could do a lot more to help people recycle.  I remember being in Germany close  to 20 years ago and their recycling system was fantastic, making it very easy for households. 

    People who don't recycle face a fine in Germany but it's made so easy to do by local authorities that my friend who I stayed with said it rarely came to that.

    I agree, it's all very well councils telling us to recycle but they need to ensure they're meeting residents half way.
  • CathyMcCathyMc Member Posts: 2 Listener
    I think if we can get metal straws with a brush for £3 we should all be using them!!!! 
  • GainaGaina Member Posts: 133 Pioneering
    What about reusable straws?


    They're OK, it's just the single use ones that are being banned. 😊
  • mellynicholsonmellynicholson Member Posts: 2 Listener
    I suffer with extreme tremors so getting a drink to mouth is nearly impossible! I rely on straws to drink anything. I would be willing to stop using plastic straws with a good replacement. I've tried paper ones but they disinigrate very quickly especially in hot drinks. Metal were ok on that front but with a head tremor I found it rather painful when getting smacked by it! I've even attempted pasta straws very weird. I think a suitable replacement needs to be found first. Xx
  • GainaGaina Member Posts: 133 Pioneering
    I suffer with extreme tremors so getting a drink to mouth is nearly impossible! I rely on straws to drink anything. I would be willing to stop using plastic straws with a good replacement. I've tried paper ones but they disinigrate very quickly especially in hot drinks. Metal were ok on that front but with a head tremor I found it rather painful when getting smacked by it! I've even attempted pasta straws very weird. I think a suitable replacement needs to be found first. Xx
    I was in Marks and Spencer today at the restaurant and I got my drink with what I thought was a reusable plastic straw, but it was actually paper!  Next time I'm in town I'll go in the food hall and see if they're for sale and report back. :)
  • WebbisWebbis Member Posts: 9 Connected
    These are brilliant:
    They are made from ground seashells and are compostable.  I think they may not go through the dishwasher as many times as plastic but they've survived so far.

  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Would you like to have your say on the consultation on the proposed ban on plastic straws?
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • benjamintolmerbenjamintolmer Member Posts: 28 Connected
    It affects, everything has its own role and by replacing it with another can give a change, but it is needed for a person who is not able to take any drink without it so, reusable one is a smart idea. Yes, this ban is for us and for our society so we have to encourage them.
  • sam12sam12 Posts: 1,338 Member
    Stock up. I have plastic straws from. China. 
  • sam12sam12 Posts: 1,338 Member
    I stock up mine
  • magunra2kmagunra2k Member Posts: 43 Connected
    A straw is just a tube, the ban is to reduce the amount of straws we throw away, we have turned into a wastefull society, if you need a straw to drink then buy a suitable alternative to disposables, you wouldn't eat all your meals off plastic picnic plates and only use plastic throw away cutlery so why would you do the same for a drinking straw?
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    edited April 2019
    Many people are totally reliant on using straws to drink. The point that many disabled people make @magunra2k is that there arent good alternatives at the minute. 
    The options seem to be
    Metal straws
    Paper
    Silicone
    Reusable plastic
    Compostable straw.

    These all have different pros and cons but one of the biggest would be cost, disabled people on average face costs of £583 a month more than a non disabled person - is it fair to add yet another cost onto them?

    I do think that looking at straw use is a positive thing, it has made me reconsider whether I ever need to use a straw again! I have no additional needs that require me using a straw and that is the case for most people so if we can reduce our waste in this way, I personally think it is a great thing.

    BUT I think we need to be extremely mindful of those who need straws to survive every day, this ban shouldnt mean that they are negatively impacted.

    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • magunra2kmagunra2k Member Posts: 43 Connected
    How are those not good alternatives to disposable plastic straws? The only difference between those options and a disposable plastic straw is that they can be either reused or thrown away without killing wildlife? You seem to be looking for a an issue where there isn't one.
    My daughter needs a straw to drink, we have used paper ones exclusively for years. There is no issue.
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    edited April 2019
    Hi @magunra2k
    I am not looking for issues, I am just letting you know what some disabled people are saying.

    Metal straws -
    55pinkroses said:
    Everyone who suggests that disabled people should use metal straws instead of plastic seem to have never seen or met a disabled person? Not only do metal straws require meticulous handling/cleaning but if you have mobility issues/spasms metal straws can hurt you and can't bend.

    Paper straws - 
    Alison_Beevers says:
    It’s very difficult for my son who has #CerebralPalsy to drink through a paper straw. #Cafe #Restaurants #Bars please have a small stash of #plastic straws for your #disabled customers. It’s becoming so much harder when we forget to take our own

    Silicone straws - 
    Unicornthorn says:
    Seriously. I've tried using reusable straws. I have such little energy that I genuinely cannot clean them often enough. Silicone straws are so goddamn hard to clean.

    Scope
    Senior online community officer
Sign in or join us to comment.