Graph of the week – The strawman argument

As many WUWT readers know, there’s this push to “save the planet” by banning plastic straws. Like most liberal Earth saving fantasies, it’s rooted in shonky science, or in this case, no science at all, just a guess.

The plastic straw ban movement was started by a 9 year old kid named Milo Cress who made estimates from interviewing manufacturer representatives. Per the NYT: article:

“I came up with this statistic because I couldn’t find anything else about it. If there are other statistics on how many straws we use that are based on more rigorous research than the research that I did, I’m happy to embrace those.”

Fact check: The claim that 500 million straws are used by Americans is an estimate above the ranges of more rigorous studies. Market research firms put the figure between 170 million and 390 million per day, or 63 billion to 142 billion straws per year.

Adding fuel to the fire, in 2015, a video showing a sea turtle with a plastic straw up it’s nose became the focal point for the movement started by a made-up number.

Win one for feelings, but a loss for science. If the issue is plastic waste in the oceans, then this graph really tells the story of where plastic straw bans might be most effective.

But the real question is, how many plastic straws actually end up in the oceans?


Good luck with China.

245 thoughts on “Graph of the week – The strawman argument

  1. Hey… when they decide to BAN women’s little plastic tampon inserters … which probably made in the same quantities as plastic drinking straws… well, then we’ll have parity.

  2. Is it a requirement in the US that plastic straws are thrown into the river rather than the trash? I have never found plastic straws to be a main source of litter here in Canada.

    • I regularly pick up litter that others have thrown on the pavement. McD cartons and containers are comfortably first, followed by plastic bottles of all sizes and then crisp bags

      Never ever a plastic straw. mind you paper ones used to be perfectly good enough, so plastic ones seem a bit of a waste of a useful material


      • @tonyb
        I can only guess that plastic straws are cheaper to use than paper. I can’t imagine a vendor deliberately using a product that would eat into the bottom line unless they were otherwise regulated into doing so.

      • Recently we have bought some paper straws for the retro novelty factor. They are horrible. The start to turn to mush before you can finish your drink. Hopefully where/when plastic straws are banned, they will be replaced with polylactide (corn plastic), and not those horrible paper straws.

          • I absolutely agree presuming you are fererring to ethanol that’s used in the making of many of our favorite drinks.

          • Sorry. The word should have been “referring.” The error was probably caused by my favorite type of ethanol, Kentucky bourbon.

      • Did you ever try to suck a thick milk shake through a paper straw? I though we were trying to save the trees.

      • Paper ones are only good if you make a point of drinking your drink quick, before the straw has a chance to get soggy.
        If you coat the paper straw in wax in order to prevent this, then you have created another problem, just as big as the problem with plastic straws.

      • Paper straws get soggy and soon collapse under vacuum.

        I keep and use a plastic straw for weeks.
        Occasional rinsing is all that is necessary.

        Then again, I drink very few sugary drinks. I do add a dash of tonic toda to water as I like the taste.
        Or, it’s pots of plain tea; well as plain as puerh tea or silver tip jasmines can get. 🙂

        Straws allow one to drink from the bottom of their cups/glasses, without chunks of ice sliding down trying to chip teeth or splash liquids around.

      • In the Army, it used to be everyone else’s cigarette butts. Was always wondering why the a-holes that smoked didn’t stop throwing them on the ground.

    • In my retirement, I walk between four and nine miles per day, and like Tonyb, I pick up trash along the way, and during those periods, I have collected maybe two straws; so like everyone else, I was puzzled to hear about the alleged straw pollution problem.

      • Didn’t you even bother to read the article? People aren’t throwing their plastic straws out on to the street where you can find them, they are bundling them up and depositing them directly into the waterways.

        • Yah! I always save mine and throw them directly into Puget Sound as I’m driving over the Deception Pass Bridge every day. Cut out the middleman, I always say.

          • Here’s the video from 2015 where an Olive Ridley sea turtle is found with a plastic straw up his nose:

            Notice that toward the end of the video it says “Shortly after recording this video, we discovered a fork in the nose of another Olive Ridley sea turtle. Please click here to watch the rescue.”

            Color me skeptical, but what are the odds? Either Olive Ridley sea turtles can’t help but snort every piece of plastic they encounter in the ocean, or these cruel bastards are jambing plastic crap into endangered turtles schnozzes just to promote an eco-nazi plastic ban.

    • Jeff in Calgary :
      Nah ! We just grab a passing turtle and stick it up it’s nostril !
      That way the beach-litter gets removed by the beach-litter of turtles !
      Fortunately , the turtles are considerate enough to leave their discarded
      egg-shells buried !! Of course , it helps if they’re GREEN TURTLES !!
      If you want to dispose of a log……….well…….there’s always the loggerheads !

  3. On the bright side, it is refreshing to see that a 9yo kid knows how to properly use a comma.

    Say, whatever happened to paper straws? I guess they were probably waxed, or plastic-coated. Were they unsuitable for hot drinks? Or more expensive than plastic? Or just an inferior user experience, if you took too long to drink your beverage?

    • until I see video of that interview, I’m inclined to believe his guardians made the comment. This reeks of helicopter greeny mommy/daddy move to gain credibility in their inner fart-sniffing circles

      • On local Seattle radio, they played back the interview with the kid from that time, and he sounded remarkably well-spoken for a 9 year old. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t coached, but he wasn’t hesitating with the words.

        As for the correct comma usage, I think that was a transcription, not words he typed up.

    • “Say, whatever happened to paper straws?”

      They fall apart easily.

      The modern left just hate anything successful and want us all to go back to living in mud huts and burning down forests ‘for the environment!’

      • I got empirical proof of that a few weeks ago when spending a day at the beach in Malibu. And no, I don’t live there, I’m of the great unwashed who go there from time to time to see how the libs live. Anyway, we had lunch at a hoity toity burger place that got rid of plastic straws, where my wife got a milkshake. She had to intentionally ask for a straw, which was paper; the straw didn’t last through the second attempt to take a sip, collapsed utterly. Ended up asking for a spoon, which took a minute to get cuz the kid didn’t know where the owner had hidden all the plastic spoons. I shudder in horror to know what is going to happen to my favorite boba shops…

        • Rhee

          I fear for our young mothers and fathers sanity these days.

          They’re not allowed to use disposable nappies because they’re not environmentally friendly so will be forced back to terry towling nappies (sorry diapers) with the nasty little plastic pants that caused all the chafing. Nappy rash will once again be the talking point of cocktail parties, and the sales of lotions and potions will sky rocket.

          All those soiled terry towling nappies must, of course, be carried home in a suitable container so’s not to stink up an entire car, so back to the ‘reusable’ plastic bag. Bought specially for the purpose as plastic shopping bags have now been virtually outlawed. More expense and more bulk to carry.

          Disposable wipes are no longer acceptable as flush away items, so it’ll be back to carrying damp sponges (in specially bought plastic bags that must be washed and reused) which will inevitably end up in landfill after 3 or 4 uses cos they begin to pong a bit.

          Then there’s the lotions and potions, but now created by CoCo Chanel and Hugo Boss, just so the little darlings can feel good about themselves, other than the Nappy rash. If there’s two kids of different gender, that’s a bottle of each that must be carried. And of course, they’ll never be finished (come on guys, how many bottles of after shave do you have that are years old and still half full!?).

          Plastic straws of course stopped the little darling spilling the contents of their drink down their front so more clothing will have to be carried. More spills mean more washing, so it kind of defeats the purpose, but hey ho. Immovable stains will of course mean a new outfit for the little treasure as one couldn’t possibly do anything more energetic than chucking it in a washing machine which won’t get rid of the stain.

          They’ll be forced to buy hygienic stainless steel straws instead of plastic, and of course, that will need to be at least two per child in case of loss. Of course children being children, they’ll be brandished as weapons or a means of bodily exploration at the first opportunity, so more hospital visits for eye and ear injuries etc.

          Then they’ll be forced to buy reusable Sporks for the darlings as restaurants won’t hand out plastic spoons, two apiece once again. Unfortunately, there’s all the individual washing effort associated with that lot as well. I suspect a fair number of rudimentary carved initials and stick figures will consign restaurant table tops to the bin as well.

          Pretty soon, Mum’s and Dad’s will be back to lugging massive bags around with them just for a day out instead of a couple of disposable nappies and a pack of baby wipes.

          This isn’t going to go well.

          • the breeding phase is still in the future when they figure out it’s a way to get a new political playing card: the babby card – it gets u respeck and charity and it’s the way a fluffy headed female can claim her majority. it’s how they will become matriarchs (fag hags, too) with an entourage of codependent soybois.
            they haven’t discovered the trick yet.

            for now, breeding is not on – they still have to sort out which bathroom to use and reproduction is as evil as critical thinking.
            it’s still simulated sex with the digestive tract…lol

          • That is actually a problem with behavioral and psychological studies on babies and children. I can’t believe how many studies I have seen that cause my eyes to roll. How stupid I think. But then I realize, these studies are being done by students in college trying to get their degrees in their various fields. they design these studies, but never have had children of their own – they are still young students after all, so they have no context. If every child behaviorists was forced to have kids before getting their degree a lot of these studies wouldn’t be done.

          • marque2

            EEK! Forcing child behaviourists to have children sounds, well, unsavoury.

            The rest, I agree with.

          • HS,

            I thought we had decided straws would be made of collagen calcium phosphate or enameled dentine?


          • rip

            We did, but just too difficult to explain when so much else was at stake.

            Sorry, I feel I have betrayed you now, but it was necessary for the collective good.

            OMG! I sound like a socialist!

            Wire brush and Dettol for my mouth please, quickly!!!!!!

          • “…Disposable wipes are no longer acceptable as flush away items…”

            For good reason. Nightmare for sanitary sewer systems. Do you want your sewage backing up onto streets like a 3rd world country?

          • Michael Jankowski

            There is at least one make of disposable wipe on the market which is 90% water. They disintegrate faster than toilet paper when immersed in water.

    • I saw one report that stated paper straws were considerably more expensive than plastic and, of course probably not as durable during use. For quadriplegics the latter would be a significant issue.

    • paper straws? We had to stop using them to Save the Trees©

      It’s all a cycle that usually involves greens blundering about bumping their heads on things in their rush to act on something – at some point they’ll be overheard saying ‘no, wait..’ before they change direction and stumble blindly into the next mess they created.

    • Being old enough to remember paper straws, I can tell you it was not a good experience. Just try and finish a large milk shake using one. They collapse before you finish the shake. Then you have to tear off the collapsed end of the straw and stick your face nearly into the shake cup to get the straw down far enough to finish.

      • I remember them from long ago. For some reason they were really skinny too. the new ones make from biodegradable corn starch polymers hold up a bit better, but they have an incredibly rough mouth feel.

  4. shouldn’t this guy be working or producing something?
    amazing how takers are always willing to use others money to force makers to not make.. maybe they are jealous they don’t have the capacity to compete and produce.

  5. I think there has been a newer study that puts more than 90% of waste in the ocean comes from 10 rivers, 9 in asia and one in africa… But according to the graph above, it looks like the USA is contributing 1% but I am thinking that it leaves out a large number of contributors that are above the United States on waste reaching the oceans…

    • So true:

      “The researchers have also calculated that the ten river systems with the highest plastic loads (eight of them are in Asia and two in Africa) – areas in which hundreds of millions of people live, in some cases – are responsible for around 90 percent of the global input of plastic into the sea.”

      And to make it even more unbelievable:


      * Most of the plastic waste comes from just a few countries, mostly in Asia and Africa.
      * 25% is “leakage” from Asian waste management processes — the rest is waste that has never been collected, but is simply thrown into rivers.
      * But European countries ship inject huge quantities of waste into Asian waste management streams, ostensibly for recycling. As much as 20% — millions of tons every year — ends up in the oceans and will continue to do so.
      * Since the Chinese banned waste imports at the start of the year, shipments have been diverted to other Asian countries with even weaker environmental controls (Figure 1).
      * EU recycling is therefore a major contributor to marine waste and increasing recycling will therefore simply increase marine litter.

    • I have seen that, but also an article that seemed well-researched that said that 40% or more of the plastic in the oceans is from discarded fishing gear. There seems to be no reliable estimates at all, of what is actually going on.

      So let’s blame companies we don’t like already (like McDonalds), get them to do something rather than us, and then feel really virtuous and good about ourselves. Meanwhile, the real problem gets worse and worse.

      That’s modern activism for you.

  6. Where is the green swat team to go out and get pictures of these river outlets and nearby beaches? Or are those also state secrets in China?

  7. There are about 330 million people in the US. Most of them do NOT use a straw each and every day. I use about a straw every couple of weeks.

    As a result, when I saw the “500 million straws a day”, I said “hogwash”, or some slightly stronger word. That’s 1.5 straws for every man, woman, and child in the US every single day of the year, and that’s simply not happening.


    • I think these numbers also include the little stir-straws used at bars and coffee shops.

      • Paul P.,
        I recall using one of those about 6 years ago. None since then.
        I’ll ditto Willis with about 2 to 3 straws per month. Usually those appear when on a shopping +other trip that’s more than an hour from home.

    • Willis

      “As a result, when I saw the “500 million straws a day”, I said “hogwash”, or some slightly stronger word. That’s 1.5 straws for every man, woman, and child in the US every single day of the year, and that’s simply not happening.”

      500 million straws a day at about 12 oz of liquid per straw usage per day works out to only about 18 oz of liquid per person in the US per day. Seems perfectly plausible to me 😉

        • I’ll take one for the team at the local bar. Lessee… 8 drinks with 2 cocktail straws per drink covers 7-8 people who don’t use straws.

          I’m doing my part. Let’s all pitch in and raise our straw usage. All the other countries are kicking our U.S. a$$es in generating plastic waste. Are we gonna stand for that?!

        • I have not used ten straws in the past 18 years.
          But, I do stir my coffee at 7-Eleven using those swizzle stick dealios.
          I typically use two to get the job done faster.
          But some places have wooden ones.
          I am sure wood or paper will be unacceptable to the bars and taverns of the world.
          This is gonna get ugly is anyone goes to jail.
          My guess is it gets overturned in no time flat.

      • . McDonald’s feeds 68 million people per day
        adding the sales and dividing by the ‘mcdonald’s factor’ indicates @ 148 million burgers per day from the top 16 burger franchises. dunno about the percentage of drive-thru customers who automatically get one straw per drink so they can punch thru the lid.

        there are a lot of people stopping by the convenience store for a soda, too.

        so 500 million is really not incredible at all

        consider there are nearly half a billion soda cans made daily one can see there is a whole lotta drinkn goin on!

    • My wife found me on Ebay the other day and asked what I was buying .. “straws, lots of straws” I muttered. She took some time to regain her composure and reminded me I despised straws and never used the things. I explained my sacrifice – if I only succeed in upsetting one greenie then the price of the straws will be worth it.

      (and they’re also damned good for measuring and mixing the sorts of chemicals, resins and other things I’d rather not stick my fingers in)

    • I use straws about as often as you do, and my initial thought was the same as yours. OTOH, I’ll bet every school lunch, and most restaurant and cafeteria meals, come with a straw.

      This site puts U.S. restaurant revenue at $800 billion / year:
      That’s $2.2 billion per day. If the average cost of a restaurant meal is $10 (that’s just a WAG), that’s 220 million meals per day, and most of them probably include a straw.

      So 500 million does seem high, but the right order of magnitude, and probably a lot closer to reality than climate alarmists’ sea-level projections.

      • Dave–most sit down w/ waitress that I visit do put a straw down with the drink–never use it, but wonder now if it is thrown away with the rest of the meal refuse even if still in the wrapper?? Anyway, seems to me to be a major concern when compared to some of the other recent “news” (sarc if needed)

        • MarkW

          That’s OK though, the virtue signalling greens jogging round the streets swilling from their disposable plastic bottles is perfectly acceptable.

          And I regularly watch immigrant families walking out our supermarkets with trolleys full of bottled water, yet the UK has probably the cleanest tap water in the world.

          I really don’t get bottled water.

          • It costs more money than tap water, therefor it’s better than tap water.
            That’s my interpretation at least.

            Of course, water without chlorine and fluoride does taste a lot better.

          • Greg Cavanagh

            As I understand it, much bottled water has everything filtered out including minerals that, in the UK at least, are retained in tap water.

            Personally, I can’t taste chlorine in our tap water but it seems to have an indefinable depth, perhaps even flavour, whereas I find bottled water is tasteless and ‘thin’.

            Perhaps it’s just perception. Each to his own.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      I refuse to use straws, plastic, paper or otherwise cos I’m all growed up and can get a cup from a table to my mouth without a problem.

      • Heard down at the pub….
        Q: “Do you have a drinking problem, young man?
        A: “No. I can hit my mouth every time!”

        • Kevin

          If you’re an adult drinking something that needs a straw, you probably shouldn’t be drinking it as it’s likely full of sugar and bound to make you fat; like milkshakes, smoothies, and sodas with crushed ice. Nor do I understand why you feel the need to capitalise “Smoothies” and “Sodas”.

          Have some dignity and drink a cup of tea from a cup, ideally with a saucer.

          PS …… “How’s” is an abbreviation for ‘How is” not ‘How does’. Just a heads up, I’m far from perfect at spelling and grammar.

          • A question mark denotes the end of a sentence. The next word should have a capital letter. Judge not…

          • Airlie Beach Illusion

            Not according to my English teacher (who was actually Scottish) when one is compiling a list punctuated by question marks.

            And rarely does a single word conform to the concept of a ‘sentence’ I think there are some but right now I cant think of one.

            Anyway, a sentence:

            “a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.”

            I’m not sure that works for “Smoothies? Sodas with crushed ice?” particularly when the examples given begin with “milkshakes” without a capital ‘M’.

            If nothing else, in my experience, the English language should be consistent.

            Judge me if you wish.

          • HotScot. I have a beard and moustache. Using a straw with a milkshake is much cleaner. However, a major problem is authorities inability to compromise in so many areas. Issues are yes or no, because “sometimes” is difficult to legislate.
            BTW, I think criticism in blogs should be reserved for factual mistakes.

          • Airlie Beach Illusion

            I used to have an impressive moustache, beer was never a problem. 🙂

            In my opinion, a great deal of petty legislation, like plastic straws, should be tossed into the bin (no pun intended) as it’s merely designed to protect the idiots from themselves. My enduring refrain s that the western world is being overrun by minority interest groups forcefully promoting their agendas, and the politicians forget their responsibility to the democratic majority.

            And whilst I largely agree with you about criticism’s, I pointed out Kevin’s grammatical faux pas to him merely as a “heads up”.

  8. And where’s Panama on the list?(rhetorical) I love the country and the people,but their trash problem has to be seen to be believed. Way worse than Baja California,which I have traveled many times, and it’s not good.

    • In the Sonoran Desert of Mexico the trash from open dumps blows in the wind to be caught on cactus and in fences. There isn’t much water around so the wind does the work.

  9. This has nothing whatsoever to do with plastic straws or any other kind of plastic- it’s to do with how people dispose of them after they use them FFS.

  10. The sh****le countries are again the usual suspects.

    As an aside, my area of the Gulf has been experiencing about a month or more of dead sea life from red tide. This all started with heavy rains back in June which overwhelmed the sewer system in St Petersburg and dumped all that sewage out into the Bay and Gulf. Normal tides and wind have pushed all that pollution down my way where it gets trapped by currents. This particular bloom was feed by that pollution but no one will place the blame there because of possible law suits over the crumbling, unfixable sewer system in St Pete. It can never be fixed properly and will only get worse. Where can I go that has no hurricanes, no red tide, no vibrio, no dangerous sea life, no tornadoes, no ice storms, no flooding or any other natural disasters. Vegas here I come.

    • When civilization breaks down, you’ll be left **without** any fresh water to drink and **with** desert heat — much worse than any of the other possibilities you mentioned.

      • Do you think I would stay put without water? C’mon, that is progressive type thinking that no one can adjust and will just die without a fight. Besides, there are only 18 years left before Apophis hits the Earth and wipes us all out.

    • As to red tide it was cultured quite awhile ago (Ray, S. M. and W. B. Wilson. 1957. Effects of unialgal and bacteria free cultures of Gymnodium brevis on fish and notes on related studies with bacteria. Fishery Bulletin, U. S. 57:469-496) and while I am not up on the literature last I read had lots of connections but not much certainty. Ray died a couple of years ago at age 94 very much concerned about the state of marine science. This one is interesting given the recent dust, a connection first made in the 1970s. (Walsh, J. J. And K. A. Steidinger. 2001. Saharan dust and Florida red tides: the cyanophyte connection. Journal Geophysical Research. 106(C6):11597-11612) Always helps to have organic pollution, things bloom not always to our choosing.

      As to organizations parasitic on others (no offense to the smarter parasites) all these pretty pictures of the dying ocean are always interesting as on a recent 2018 calendar that I was just shown and also on their website. “The ocean today is under an unprecedented assault. Half of the ocean’s species have disappeared in the last 45 years.” 45 years is the period the Ocean Conservancy has “…campaigned to safeguard the ocean….” I guess they failed. This is an interesting post on their website—- They no doubt ignored this—

      “Ocean Conservancy is a 501(c)3 – Donations are 100% tax-deductible as allowed by law.” Does that law allow false advertising? You can also sign up for ocean alerts for your cell phone, sea monster attacks I suppose, if they are not part of the 50%.

      There are pieces of plastic a sea turtle might mistake for a jellyfish, not straws. Ridleys love crabs.

      • HD, Gymnodium brevis is common around Maine….we have Karenia brevis here in the Gulf….it forms way off shore where there’s no pollution….iron in African dust does it

        • Yes I am aware of what causes the usual red tide. I have been through many outbreaks here on the Gulf Coast. But this one is the longest and strongest I have ever experienced. And it all started when a probably normal red tide outbreak was coming but it was super fueled by all the crap that flushed out from St Pete. I am very sensitive to the respiratory discomfort it causes and cannot get within about 1/4 mile of the beach. But this one, I was able to walk right down to the water’s edge with only slight effects. The water was filthy and smelly, not from red tide but from sewage.

          • Latitude, good post on red tide. I spent the first two thirds of my career trying to avoid involvement in red tide (K. brevis) issues but it caught up with me the last third. Red tides were reported as far back as when the Spanish arrived (no I don’t have the reference.) A lot of money has been spent trying to blame some nutrient source, sewage, phosphate, nitrogen, even trace minerals to my understanding none were determined to be a causative agent. Red tide in the Gulf, it also can go around to the SE Florida Coast entrained in the Florida Current, start offshore apparently concentrated by eddy formation associated with the Loop Current. Those eddies often intruded on the the West Florida Shelf causing all sorts of problems. It is when they make it to the coast that it hits the news and politicians get involved. If conditions are “right,” often during a drought, the “tide” stays around for weeks, months, etc. Interestingly one of the worst red tide for offshore reef fish took place under a thermocline, never made it to the coast and wiped out reefs along the SW Florida Coast. The good news was it allowed researchers to study “re-recruitment” back on natural reefs. K. brevis, was renamed for Dr. Karen Steidinger, who was once my boss and who later worked for me.

          • Tom, do not discount the unusually dry dry season we had, which began right after the hurricane and produced almost zero rain for many spots in S. Florida until May or so.
            When it does rain after such a long dry spell, all the pet waste and excess fertilizer and all the other stray nutrients that accumulated for all those months is flushed out pretty much all at once, instead of more gradually like in a normal year.
            I would wager that had a lot to do with it.

    • Tom, oddly enough…the nutrients you’re talking about…make Karenia brevis (red tide) less toxic
      This bloom actually started off the coast of Texas…from African dust (iron)….currents pushed it over to you…African dust moved over with it and fed it…and the wind pushed it on shore

        • ” super fueled by all the crap that flushed out from St Pete”…and it probably made it less toxic

          ‘Increased Toxicity of Karenia brevis during Phosphate Limited Growth: Ecological and Evolutionary Implications’

          “Intracellular PbTx concentrations (fg/µm3) increased by up to 2.5-fold during N-limited growth”
          “Karenia brevis responds to P- and N-limitation by increasing all brevetoxin congeners”

        • Tom in Florida

          Not a shark in sight though. A few storms but rarely hurricanes, never heard of an ice storm, definitely no tornado’s, and no flooding or natural disasters.

          Plenty of sharks in Vegas though, and as Billy Connelly said “there’s no such thing in Scotland as bad weather, it’s just bad clothing” (paraphrasing).

  11. Bans like this are based on the police power of government and it is generally forgotten that the police power under Anglo/American law is not unlimited. Often it is limited to controlling things that touch on the health, safety, welfare and morals of the community. If a law cannot reasonably be anchored on one of those it may be void. In this case, it could be argued that the law has no provable impact on the harm it purports to avoid and is, itself, unlawful. I would like to see manufacturers consider litigation against city governments along these lines. Time to turn back municipal abuse of the police power.

    • I am with you Rachelle.
      The jail time allowed for this offense makes it reek of overreach.
      There is no reason and no justification for banning a harmless item that by the way could not possibly be a significant problem.

      • Thank you. In addition to lack of reason and justification I think the city also lacks the fundamental legal authority to pass an inane law under the police power. We easily recognize the limited authority if we imagine the city making it a felony or death penalty case for any infraction. They can’t. Only the state legislature can make an act a felony. Similarly, the limited police power a city does possess does not give it scope to enact foolish ordinances. In law books it is sometimes explained with the hypothetical example that a city cannot outlaw plaid pants. Such a law would have no connection with the health, safety, welfare and morals of the people and therefor not a legitimate use of the police power. Sometimes lawyers get stupidly conceived laws like this voided for exactly the reasons I just gave. A manufacturer should sue them and put them to the proof.

  12. As a bass fisherman, I spend quite a bit of time on rivers. There’s not a huge amount of floating trash, but in the piles I do see I don’t recall seeing a plastic straw. It’s mostly plastic bottles. LOTS of them. Tell me, does California ban plastic bottles?

    • Of course not…they got away with this one because it is something that most people can easily imagine doing without, and few rely on straws in their daily life.
      IOW…no one is greatly inconvenienced by this, except some handicapped folks, bartenders and triple thick shake vendors, and the poor slobs that work in or own straw factories…which are probably all in china anywho.
      But plastic water bottles, or anything that people use everyday and would be terribly inconvenient to do without…no chance of a ban there.

  13. “I came up with this statistic because I couldn’t find anything else about it. If there are other statistics on how many straws we use that are based on more rigorous research than the research that I did, I’m happy to embrace those.”

    yeah, a 9 yr old said that….

    • Yeah, it seems inconsistent. How could a child that age be smart enough to write that well, yet foolish enough to embark on such a silly campaign?

      I’ve met a kid about that age who was very well-spoken, even by adult standards, and I’ll bet he could write that well. But he was homeschooled, and from a conservative Christian family, and he presumably was not so foolish.

  14. This story feeds into the myth of a massive floating plastic island
    in the Pacific. I have used Skip Hanson’s post on the myth to inform
    my grandchildren and some neighbors of the truth. I appreciate Skip’s
    article for the help.

  15. In the UK a proposed straw ban follows hard on the heels of bans on free plastic bags in supermarkets, and bans on plastic micro-beads in cosmetics/cleaners. All vigorously campaigned for by the BBC, despite no evidence of serious harm or that the bans will make any significant difference to what is essentially a litter problem, not a pollution problem.

    People don’t seem to have cottoned on yet that the activists are just going through a list, one item at a time. They don’t intend to stop until all plastics (not even clearly defined, but who cares?) are banned. It is no coincidence that plastics are just another immensely useful product of the petroleum/fossil fuel industry. Once again industry seems to just bend over and take it, as the greens and the BBC systematically set about trying to destroy another pillar of the industrial revolution.

    • Yes, I do find it strange in the UK that we can just ban things when Greens make a fuss and there are no concerns about jobs, but when it’s something like Brexit, it’s all jobs, jobs, jobs.

      The hypocrisy knows no bounds these days.

  16. I’ve seen unspeakable garbage floating by on the East River in NY. That was not so far from the NYT.

  17. Like most environmental problems, this ocean garbage was caused by environmentalists with their longstanding opposition to burning refuse. –AGF

  18. Straws !

    Just slurp your beverage over the rim, and, please, for the love of God, step away from the sippie cup.

    Why have adults become such babies about how they take in fluids?

    • LOL … I’ve never been in a biker bar, pool hall, or honky-tonk and saw someone drinking a beer from a straw. Must be some kind of redneck thing!

      • Real men and real women don’t use straws. (^_^)

        I’d love to see the reaction of people in a biker bar to someone walking up to the bartender, asking that the beer be dispensed into his insulated sippie cup … something like, U ain’t frum ’round heer R U, boy?

  19. Crazy. If plastic straws are an issue, there historically have been many alternatives. The most common was the waxed paper straws used up to the 1950’s. At one point there were also hard macaroni straws but which were prone to breakage. There should numerous alternatives without getting rid of straws.

    • Make ’em from tempered glass. Then they could be used as crack pipes! It could spike sales of fountain drinks.

  20. I suppose the only sesnsible, sustainable choice is to switch to non-disposable straws. They will need to be washable, and sturdy enough to withstand repeated uses. And, since these will be permanent(ish) additions to our everyday-carry, I’d imagine we’ll want them made out of suitably aesthetic materials.

    We also need to bear in mind that these materials will need to be environmentally friendly in order to prevent catastrophe should one find it’s way back into the wild. So, aesthetically pleasing yet environmentally friendly? Hmm…whalebone and ivory would probably work wonderfully.


  21. This reminds me of when California, during one of the previous droughts, mandated that restaurants could not supply a glass of water to a customer unless they asked for it.

    97% of water usage in CA is agricultural (actually around 90%, but why let a little exaggeration get in the way of some good propaganda). So, it was nothing more than feel-good, virtual signalling.

  22. Using straws to drink is a kid’s thing in my country (NL). No sane adult wants to be seen drinking with a straw, the humiliation! Apart maybe from the odd cocktail but that’s it.
    Why is it that grown ups haven’t mastered drinking from a glass yet? Are the glasses different over there, what is it?

    • huls

      Think I might move to NL from the UK. Too many adult children here.

      Except of course I’ll be moving back into the EU.

      On second thoughts………..


    • Drinks sold in places like movies theatres and amusement parks come in waxed paper cups with plastic lids and a straw.
      Ditto the drinks sold in fast food and just about every take out joint.
      And yes…adults drink out of them too.

    • David L. Hagen

      I’m not sure the point of having babies in a civilised society is to care for the elderly.

      Personally, I don’t consider abortion laws a right/wrong issue. Nor does ranting contribute to the debate.

      And I suspect it’s 120 million or so foetuses (from the end of the second month of conception I believe) not babies, as they are when they are delivered. Although I accept that medical science can now take a foetus from an early stage through to full term.

      Whilst there are some mothers who don’t care, a termination for most is an agonising decision and one never forgotten. What abortion also covers is the innumerable women who have induced terminations, in other words they are already carrying a dead/terminally ill baby, or their life is threatened by the birth.

      Your comment consigns the majority of caring parents to unfeeling criminals. That’s neither fair nor true.

      • foetus is just latin for baby.
        Whether they agonize about it or not does not change the fact that they just killed their baby.

        • MarkW

          And the already dead, or dying babies? Or the mothers that risk their own lives delivering a terminally ill baby? Who speaks for them whilst you condemn them as murderers?

          I have witnessed two terminations up close and personal, neither because the mother didn’t want the child.

          One was my girlfriend who, unknown to her, had fallen pregnant to the long term boyfriend she split up with shortly before she met me. She was forced to terminate the pregnancy early because of the child’s condition. It was dead within her. That was on doctors advice because the pregnancy obviously wouldn’t have been successful and she would have been at risk.

          The other was my wife and my first conception which was stillborn at a very early stage. Neither of my partners had a choice in the matter, but both are counted in the “abortion” statistics.

          It is also a medical fact that those who choose to plan a family by using ‘the pill’ as a birth control method run a high risk of losing their first child after coming off the pill.

          The pain, however, remains to this day. Of two lost souls we daren’t name at the time, and I often feel we should have.

          I hope you have never suffered an acute tragedy like that. But the pious opinions of those who haven’t’, condemning the ones who have somehow as criminals, distresses me as to humanities capacity for compassion amongst the civilised west.

          There are moral and ethical questions surrounding elective terminations, but there are also moral and ethical questions around conception. A rape victim perhaps? Still counted in the abortion statistics. A condom failure? The victim of paedophilia behaviour? These people should all be forced to go full term?

          I’m sorry mate but science has come too far to tolerate the simple “Abortion” label prescribed by medieval witches and superstitious priest’s.

          What ‘pro-lifers’ do, is similar to climate change alarmist’s, they consign all that oppose them to one group, deniers. And you and I both know that is crap.

          • If the baby is already dead within her, then by definition she didn’t kill it.

            As to the examples you give, those are less than 1% of all abortions.

      • From the Guttmacher Institute ( U.S. study 2007:
        “Fifty-four percent of women having abortions used some method of contraception during the month they became pregnant. ”
        The majority of women obtaining abortions were not intentionally pregnant.

        HotScot, you labelled the number of abortions due to health reasons as “innumerable”.

        I notice that the CDC keeps health and abortion statistics, but does not report numbers of abortions done for medical reasons. Odd. Also, chemical abortions are called “Medical abortions”. Deliberate conflation?
        Are they trying to keep the number of health related abortions unknowable? It must be a very small percentage of the whole.


        • Tiny percentage…almost none.
          I have heard several doctors state that they have never in their career seen or heard of a single abortion done for the health of the mother.
          Anyone defending abortion is defending a truly despicable practice.

        • Steve

          There is a significant percentage of terminations when women conceive shortly after coming off the pill, I have no idea if that is an influence when a woman falls pregnant whilst on the pill, but possibly.

          And I suspect we could go digging round for statistics to support both sides of the argument.

          Don’t get me wrong though, I hate the thought of an unnecessary termination. If people are old enough to have sex they should be responsible enough to live with the consequences.

          • Hotscot

            I did not perceive you as supporting abortion-as-birth-control when you defended mothers who where victims of failed pregnancies. I sympathize with your, and the mothers’ losses.

            Those of us who speak against abortion on demand are not opposed to abortions for health reasons. I feel the removal of a harmful part is appropriate if it threatens life, whether that part is a cancerous gall bladder or a dieing baby.
            If you do go digging for statistics on abortions done to save the mother, you will find a very small number. These type of abortions were always legal. None of us anti-abortionist have ever said the mother in those circumstances is a murderer. It is a type of self defense, a right all have.

            I feel that removing a healthy baby is equivalent to removing a healthy heart. Someone is killed. The convenience of the mother is well known to be the overwhelming reason for abortions. (This reason was specifically stated in Roe V. Wade.) These are the abortions I oppose.


          • Steve

            We’re largely singing from the same hymn sheet.

            My objection was firstly to David Hagens swinging statement “BUT advocates murdering the unborn!” as being unhelpful. It condemns the innocent and presents a ‘concencus’ instead of inviting debate.

            I used but two examples; mothers who are carrying dead foetuses and mothers who’s lives are at risk from child birth. There are numerous other instances where termination is morally justifiable, I have mentioned some but there are numerous others including mothers who are advised they can’t go full term, conception resulting from incest, etc. etc.

            As for the concept that the numbers of mothers at risk from delivering a child are low, my wife was a State Registered Staff Nurse, an A&E Sister and is now a Masters qualified Senior Lecturer and head of department of 50 or so Nurse and Paramedic Lecturers (some PhD’s) and practitioners at a prominent University. Whilst she concedes the numbers are low, she also believes that numbers in each subdivision of the term ‘abortion’ are individually low as well. Contraceptive abortion may be highest, and politically prominent, but it’s by no means as clear cut as most of us assume.

            And I’m afraid, after all is said and done, I struggle with the concept that as an individual, or a collective, I have the right to impose my will on another individual. I don’t have to carry a foetus for 9 months, why should I condone the mentality of mob morality over that of the individual with the sole responsibility of a grave decision?

            And we can get all political and say that the democratic majority make the laws and we must adhere to them, but we’re then criminalising an individual for taking responsibility for her own life and that of her unborn child. Do I have that right? Does a woman deserve to be thrown in jail for a decision she alone is burdened with?

            And we also seize control of individual liberty and the right to make our own decisions because someone else makes a judgement on morality? Is that right? Do we really need to punish someone who we know will suffer punishment for the rest of their lives for a decision to terminate a life. Is that the moral way?

            I don’t honestly know, I just keep coming up with questions in my own mind. I don’t like the idea of elective terminations but then as a male I’ll never have to make the final decision. And whilst women can contribute perhaps more than men can, I’m not convinced they can walk in another’s shoes, no matter how they frame it.

            What I do despise is the mob mentality. I keep raising the subject of minority groups framing our society through their political will. The pressure groups like the greens, who have managed to impose their insane concept of AGW on the rest of society as an example. In this case, we have anti abortion pressure groups that represent a minority, determined to ensure their opinion prevails over that of an individual and, more importantly, the individual no one else has a responsibility for but a mother.

            I occasionally see desperately ill people and think, I wouldn’t let a dog suffer like you (I was an Ambulance driver and have considerable experience here). I’m not sure where that places me on the morality scale but I know of rational, intelligent, fully functioning adults with terminal conditions, who want to end their own life with dignity and in the UK at least, we deprive them of that right. Mob morality once again seizing control over an individual, but in this case it’s one who has the ability to make their own decisions. Is that also right?

            So just where do we go from here? Allow more and more political and moral interest groups to make more and more decisions for us? How you bring up your kids? How you teach them the gospel of AGW? How schools allow the Catholic Church ensures their questionable version of morals should be taught? And how the decisions of life and death are only decided by the government when they decide to wage war.

            Too many questions. Too few answers for me mate.

          • Hotscot

            I am of like mind concerning individuals with terminal conditions who are not allowed to take their own lives. But, that situation is not comparable with the abortion question.

            You asked the questions: “…criminalising an individual for taking responsibility for her own life and that of her unborn child. Do I have that right? Does a woman deserve to be thrown in jail for a decision she alone is burdened with?”

            In the 3rd sentence you say the mother is the only person burdened by the babies death, yet acknowledge in the 1st sentence that there is also the baby that suffers. And you overlook the suffering of the father.

            You said “I struggle with the concept that as an individual, or a collective, I have the right to impose my will on another individual.” You are getting to the heart of the issue with that question.

            What is really the question at hand here is not whether a woman has the right to decide matters of her own body, but whether a mother has the right to impose her will on another individual – the unborn baby.

            As for the morality of society judging the mother who kills her unborn child – If a mother who kills her infant is rightfully condemned, how is killing her unborn child different?
            If a person who kills a pregnant woman can be charged with 2 murders, and if a person who causes a pregnant woman to lose her fetus can be charged with murder, society has already determined that an unborn baby is as human as a baby after birth.

            To grant a mother the right to kill her unborn child is to give that mother the right to decide whether her unborn baby is human or not.

            If anyone is to be allowed to decide whether someone is human, shouldn’t it be the very person?


          • Steve

            Like I said, I only have questions, I don’t have solutions.

            “As for the morality of society judging the mother who kills her unborn child – If a mother who kills her infant is rightfully condemned,
            how is killing her unborn child different?”

            At the risk of us both going round in circles on a subject we largely agree on, I’ll just make an observation on that comment.

            If a woman is raped and bears an early stage, healthy foetus which represents no threat to her or itself, by your example that woman should be forced to carry the child to full term.

            It wasn’t the child’s fault the woman was raped but there is, I believe, provision for these circumstances in that it’s acceptable to terminate the pregnancy. And I think all but the most extreme anti abortionists would consider that reasonable and fair to the mother. But that means society no longer considers the rights of an innocent child paramount. The legality and morality of the means of conception are now the determining factor, not the child’s right to life.

            Doesn’t that then raise the question of a ruptured condom? An accidental pregnancy, perhaps unwanted. Judging by the metric of the means of conception having a bearing on the life of the child, shouldn’t this case also be eligible for consideration too?

            Then there’s incest and a perfectly healthy child conceived between two consenting family members. In the eyes of society the child again becomes secondary in the process, the means of conception becomes the determining factor.

            And if the child conceived from an incestuous relationship suffered a genetic mutation (is that the right term?) because of the family connection, it’s almost a societal moral imperative to terminate the pregnancy. Yet many in the anti abortion movement would seek to deny a mother the choice of terminating the life of an unborn child with Downs Syndrome because it was, of course, naturally and legally conceived. So back to the conception method rather than the child’s welfare.

            And as you know, I’m not arguing one case or the other, just posing questions. But I do think that, as usual, society uses a sledge hammer to crack a nut. By stepping into cases with exceptional circumstances and imposing a single judgement across society, it once again imposes the will of the minority on the will of the majority. The majority being the vast numbers of responsible mothers who are perfectly capable of making a rational and moral decision regarding the life of the child they are responsible for. Which goes on every single day.

        • OOOPS! This was supposed to go below HotScot’s next response.

          HotScot, I did some digging:

          “The state of Florida records a reason for every abortion that occurs within its borders each year. In 2015, there were 71,740 abortions in Florida. This table lists each reason and the percentage of abortions that occurred because of it.
          Percentage Reason
          .001% The pregnancy resulted from an incestuous relationship
          .065% The woman’s life was endangered by the pregnancy
          .085% The woman was raped
          .288% The woman’s physical health was threatened by the pregnancy
          .294% The woman’s psychological health was threatened by the pregnancy
          .666% There was a serious fetal abnormality
          6.268% The woman aborted for social or economic reasons
          92.330% No reason (elective)”

          Note that abortions due to physical health reasons, rape and incest added together totaled 1.105% (Only .065% of aborted pregnancies were life threatening for the mother!)

          “In 2014, women who had not aborted in the past accounted for 55.1% of all abortions; women with one or two prior abortions accounted for 36.3%, and women with three or more prior abortions accounted for 8.6% (CDC)”

          44.9% of U.S. abortions in that year were repeats!


      • Elective abortion is the premeditated murder of a defenseless unborn baby. It is unspeakably evil. It is the defining moral issue of our age.

        That said, I do not agree with David Hagen that our population is 120 million lower than it would have been, absent the abortion holocaust.

        You see, surprisingly, at least in the United States, legalizing abortion had little long term effect on the birth rate. Instead, elective abortion has mostly replaced other forms of birth control, used to “plan” (delay) having children.

        Unsurprisingly, there was a sharp increase in abortions, and a sharp drop in the birth rate, immediately following the January, 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. But then a strange thing happened: the abortion rate continued to increase, as acceptance increased. But the birth rate increased as well.

        In fact, for five consecutive years the birth rate and abortion rate BOTH increased, simultaneously.

        Abortion gradually became accepted, by many Americans, as a sort of backup birth control method, replacing caution and self-control. So, in the long term, the birth rate was only slightly reduced. The pregnancy rate rose nearly as much as the abortion rate. So, within a decade, the birth rate had nearly recovered to the slightly declining trend-line that it was already on. Most abortions simply replaced other forms of birth control, used for “family planning” purposes, to delay childbearing.

        • Dave Burton

          Elective abortions weren’t really my point. I don’t like the idea of it any more than you do when a healthy woman ‘disposes’ of an unwanted child. She and her partner should have thought about that beforehand.

          My point to John was that there is no point in ranting about it, condemning everyone when there are mitigating circumstances to be considered; rape victims, children with such debilitating conditions they will never have a quality of life, forced prostitution, even modern slavery. Then there’s the case of entirely responsible married couples who suffer a failure of contraception, a ruptured condom for example. The morning after pill is an option for them, when the child is barely a formation of cells.

          These form a small proportion of terminations but to condemn these women (and sometimes their partners) as murderers is not right.

          Part of the problem though, is religion rearing it’s ugly head within the debate. And considering the track record of the Catholic Church I think they have a cheek even showing up.

          I also find it astonishing that on a science blog, people condemn abortion wholesale yet they are quite happy examining every minute detail of the climate, and many other subjects that crop up here from time to time, rationally.

          The climate concencus is condemned by all climate sceptics but the abortion concencus is accepted without question by some, if not many climate sceptics.

  23. The straws I get from McD or any other drive-thru are wrapped in paper probably because they are to be contaminant free, free from any finger juice of the server who just scratched their butt, or picked their nose. If you are given a cup in a restaurant with no straw, whose to say you’re not putting your lips where the server held your cup? Whose to say they passed their food-safe courses? 😉 Well, this is what my wife tells me as she is OhhhhCD.

    • Jeff Labute

      I don’t think your wife is OCD at all. You surely wouldn’t eat bar snacks, peanuts etc., from a communal bowl?

      Supermarket bakeries with fresh, unpackaged self serve products in displays, rarely with even tongs to handle them, not to mention people coughing and spluttering over them are abhorrent to me.

      I’m all for kids playing in dirt, mine did, but I’d rather not risk an ebola epidemic because a foreign national escaped detection and contaminated a McDonald’s he/she got a job in.

      Which sounds a bit hysterical, but I’d rather not catch something from someone who didn’t wash their hands after wiping their arse.

    • Even drinking through a straw at the restaurant does not protect you from the possibility/probability that the cup was touched on its interior before filling. Germiphobes must have a hard life.

      I have met some people who are emphatic that cups and glasses must be placed in the cupboard upside down. Their concern is that dust/microbes might settle into the interior of the cup/glass between washing and the next use. I dare not ask why then is it OK to place the rim in contact with the cupboard shelf which may only get cleaned once per year? I don’t enjoy seeing heads explode.


  24. This will decimate future Burning Man projects coming out of San Francisco that focused on the use of plastic straws to create their amazing straw art buildings, straw statues, straw art cars, and straw men for burning..
    Amazing that a 9yr old kid’s shoddy research just emphasizes how the democratic party has been taken over by popsicle driven knee jerks…Gore, Ocasio-Cortez, and now a 9 year old…

  25. It’s just one idiotic thing after another – they’ll ban one product, and then after the warm-fuzzy buzz has worn off they’ll come back for another.

  26. Even the low number of 170 million sounds way too high to me. That’s one every other day for every man, woman and child in the country.

    • Count me as ignorant. Because I never buy anything at Starbucks or espresso drive-throughs I have to ask, is hot coffee ever sipped through a straw? Surely more coffees are purchased each day than sodas. Everyone talks about McD’s, but their coffee is served with a drinking lid minus a straw. Coffees ordered to-go have always had condiments premixed, but now even drinks served inside come premixed. I think stirring straw consumption must be already greatly reduced.

      I’m with you, MarkW. If producers are turning out straws in those numbers, many must be going to the dump unused.


      • Jones

        Don’t you just wish.

        A product designed for the third world, sold to gullible western consumers, to filter the best treated drinking water on earth, of containments that don’t exist.

        There must be all of 20 people in America who actually go cycling to a river bank with one of these, who didn’t think to bring some tap water, and thought it was a really good idea to drink water from a stream contaminated with bear shit.

  27. Like all liberal politics, facts don’t matter, just emotions. It is all a feel good movement on the path to hell.

  28. I am now hoarding a collection of assorted size and colored straws. When straws are outlawed only outlaws will have straws. Mine will only be surrendered when my tool box is raided and the banned straws discovered.

    Many uses:

    Cover small bolts to protect them from epoxy applications to fill in worn holes, wheel/roller axles; spacer/filler for stripped screw holes, etc. What else could be used as temporary alignment/support and easily cut with a knife or scissors?

    Use as depth gauges when drilling holes.

    How will I ever place the fine lead shot into my break-open air rifle for use on close range varmints of varying sizes and desired terminal effects without a straw?

    Blowing dirt/sand away from you pet’s/kid’s eye without wiping it in when there’s no other option available.

    Don’t forget blowing out the computer keyboards collection of hairs and dust and other debris.

    Oh did if forget temporary insulation for low voltage electrical connections/connectors and my test probes.

    And also holding related small gage wires together in electrical circuits as well as identification prior to termination.

    And then there’s transfer of small volumes of liquid from a larger container to a small one or application point.

    There’s the easy transfer of a good drip of paint to test for matching color.

    How will I get a couple of drops of 3-n-1 oil on the bearing/bushing on my tools/electric motor when the ‘spout’ is too short or lubrication point is hard to access?

    What else could be used for nail ID/marker in construction layout for baselines and offsets with the durability of a plastic straw and various colors?

    What will I use as a row marker when planting seeds in the garden prior the their sprouting up from the ground?

    Then there’s use for blowing ant poison into narrow cracks in caulking around windows and such.

    How will you drink from a crevice in a mountain spring seep?

    Some without straws may resort to using contaminated rolled up currency to snort their drugs. This could lead to widespread clean straw distribution centers and physician prescriptions further stressing medicaid and/or other programs.

    How will the kids plaster spitballs on the ceiling?

    I almost forgot, drinking a soda in crushed ice and stirring my coffee.

    I’m sure missed many other everyday uses for a plain old straw.

    Save the straws! The air you breathe will be next!

    • eyesonu

      You have just described a business case for a whole new range of straws.

      Teach kids to drink like adults, leave the straws for practical uses.

      We need to talk, the straw industry will be beating our doors down.

    • For many years, when I taught 3rd and 4th grades, we used plastic straws to illustrate geometric solids. Tomorrow’s youth will just not know what a tetrahedron is….

  29. Back in the mid-1990s environmentalist also concerned with sea turtles, for whatever reason couldn’t stand the Florida theme parks, weddings and birthdays doing mass releases of balloons. They were determined to stop it so they lobbied the Florida Legislature hard who passed a bill sending regulations of balloon releases to what was then the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) with a deadline to pass a rule. The MFC was in the middle of what was termed “the mullet wars,” one the most controversial fishery management issue in Florida’s history. The mullet wars involved predominately black churches, commercial and recreational fishery groups, and civic groups. The civic and church groups had held mullet fries for decades. On the date of the final balloon public hearing which had also been a daylong debate and very contentious public testimony on mullet, the balloon industry showed up to fight the balloon rule. They just didn’t understand the rule was going to be passed regardless. They showed up with a clown, the grandson of the modern latex balloon, and a well paid lobbyist. What they hadn’t done was bother to support their arguments for balloons with any data about balloon releases, balloon ingestion by sea turtles, or whether balloons actually killed sea turtles. The MFC was in no mood to even discuss the issue. The environmentalists had supported their position by showing a couple of turtles with balloons hanging out their mouths. At the time, possibly still today, more sea turtles are killed by coastal villagers off Central and South America than ever have been documented dying from balloon ingestion. The “precautionary principle” had struck again.

  30. Hey! The old waxed paper straws were great. They worked well for a coke, then you could bite off the end, chew it up into a spit ball, and use the rest of the straw for a shot.

    I am looking forward to it again.

  31. eGads! Firstly, pushing a plastic straw up a sea turtles nose for propaganda purposes is illegal and immoral. Secondly, the surveys of plastics in the oceans show no plastic straws in collected pelagic marine debris in any of the studies I’ve seen (except on beaches, where the straws are brought to the beach by tourists and abandoned.)

    And, very little pelagic (meaning out there in the oceans) debris is from the US or European developed nations.

    There is a separate issue about near-shore plastic trash and debris — junk dumped off pleasure vessels, left by tourists, blown into the water from shore, washed down rivers and storm drains. These issues do exist in the US — they will exist for paper straws as well, even though they float less. This near-shore issue is simply a LITTER issue and should be handled locally through awareness and littering fines.

    • Kip

      97% concencus just can’t be wrong.

      And I reckon the Turtle figured out a straw was a good snorkel.

      Let the green blob prove me wrong.

      And if you think I’m crazy. I was listening to an item today describing how a pod of Killer Whales eat only the livers of Great White sharks. Evidently, two seize the pectoral fins and control it whilst another targets just the liver, rips it out, to be shared amongst the pod, leaving the shark to die.

      These are 6M long sharks!

  32. Unless we really want an earth covered with decay-resistant litter, all single-use plastics, including straws, should be replaced as much as possible with compostable material or glass. China is the worst plastic polluter as per this article because developed countries, including the US, have been shipping their plastic waste to China, where it finds its way into the rivers and oceans. So this is our problem too, especially as China is now refusing to accept any more of our waste. more.

    • After only a few decades, there have already been found to be bacteria evolved to eat plastic.
      One kind was found in a Japan bottling facility.
      And as mentioned, UV light breaks down plastic very quickly.
      There will be no Earth covered in plastic debris apocalypse.
      Get a grip.

      • Bacteria that eat oil and tar have been around almost as long as there has been oil and tar.
        It’s not that big a jump to go from eating oil to eating plastic.

        • Could be useful but there are no facilities developed to apply this technology as yet. May take a while. Meanwhile, trash and toxins.

      • Unfortunately the plastic that breaks down in sunlight is mostly floating in oceans, where it degrades into micro-plastic particles that get into the food chain, releasing toxins that are absorbed by larger creatures, including humans. The effect of long -term exposure to these toxins, such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and bisphenol A (BPA), is not yet well known but “has been linked to and are associated with many health problems, including developmental impairment (neurological impairment, growth abnormalities and hormonal imbalances), cancer, endocrine disruption, neurobehavioral changes, arthritis, breast cancer, diabetes and DNA hypomethylation.”

        (Webb et al 2013, Polymers, 5, 1-18; doi:10.3390/polym5010001)

  33. If the new laws against plastic straws here in the US actually work, they will clean up, at most, 3 straws out of every 1000 discarded in global waters. But we will still get the blame for the plastic pollution that remains because no one will notice the difference, and everything bad is always the fault of America.

  34. There is much more plastic in cups, bottles, toys, etc. than in straws. Why are they picking on straws when the drinking containers they are used with contain so much more plastic?

    I think we should ban plastic surgery. I’m sure we could get Hollywood to get behind such a cause. /Sarc

  35. Depleted uranium from nuclear (knu-Klee-er) power plants should be used as an alloying agent in stainless steel straws. Washable, reusable, long lasting, easily detected if lost or misplaced, can not be smuggled onto airliners, and California could quickly put a high dollar redemption value on them assuring they’d never end up in the trash… plus the homeless could use quantities of them in the winter to keep warm.
    Make straws GREEN!

    • Depleted uranium comes from processing uranium. It’s what is left after the radioactive isotope is removed. It was never anywhere near a nuclear power plant.

  36. “The countries polluting the oceans the most.”
    I had commented on another story here about a week ago about my suspicion – I knew there would be data saying that while we the USA are the target of the Wealth Guilt, it is most likely not us responsible for the “floating islands of trash,” all of the sea animals caught in discarded nets, etc.

    We are we, the USA, the target of this campaign? Marxists have been using the White Guilt and the Racism thing to weaken our society. We are the main force interfering with the global Communism take-over plans they have been working on for 100 years. We are really getting softened up. Any slight criticism we whimper and roll over.

    If the USA bans plastic straws, from sea to shining sea, nothing will get better. We are not the cause. However, there will be more entrenched infrastructure to supposedly monitor this disaster, and so the Marxists will have yet another avenue for entrenching themselves into government, and building this supposed catastrophe into college curricula, for the brainwashing of our kids. That is the goal. Not trash in the ocean.

  37. The picture should be subtitled – The face you make when you thought you were saving the planet and suddenly realized you are just a useful idiot holding a giant straw

  38. “The plastic straw ban movement was started by a 9 year old kid named Milo Cress ” Many countries have banned single use plastics:

    Using a pejorative statement like “invented by a 9 year old kid” ( gufaaw gufaaw ) is below you WUWT, please stop it. You risk building a reputation for being anti environmentalist and therefore weaken your reputation on CO2. Stop it, destroying the CO2 myth is too important!

    • I see you got 1 ‘like’ for your ridiculous comment. I started to give you another ‘like’ just to make you feel better, but chose to skip it instead. Did you ‘like’ yourself or is there another passing troll?

  39. Oh, I can see it how. Some street person selling plastic straws instead of pencils.

  40. There are two types of plastic in the ocean. Those that float like poly and those that sink like nylon. Those that sink are much less of à problem.

    Of those that float the are two types. Those that resist sunlight and those that don’t. Those that break apart quickly in sunlight are much less a problem.

    Banning plastic bags and straws is a stupid solution. It is the equivalent of putting a bandage on melanom. normally nylon rope lasts for years in the tropics. But the Chinese s3ll a fake nylon that turns to dust in less than a year in the tropics.

    The fake nylon is a disaster if you buy it to tie up your boat. It is perfect if you want to minimize pollution.

  41. Another example of the Left’s bias against the elderly and disabled. They push “renewable” energy which raises electricity and heating costs for those on fixed incomes and now the injured, paraplegics and those with limited upper body movement will have no option but to have someone use a funnel to pour liquids into their mouth. Kill off the elderly, mentally challenged and the handicapped – they serve no function in a Big Brother society whatsoever. Leave only the young takers and compliant followers, Government will always be there to provide and protect.

    The world is splitting into two parts – those with common sense and brainwashed Marxists. Unfortunately it is the latter that is winning all the small battles.

  42. Arguing that 500 million is wrong because it’s really 190 million shows innumeracy I wouldn’t have expected in a Conservative. It’s amazing the kid was so close!

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