Better Late Than Never: I Have Taken A Side In The Paper Vs. Plastic Straw Debate

Image result for plastic straws

I tend to be a little behind when it comes to trends.

I once mentioned to someone that I had started listening to the band Gorillaz and they responded by telling me that they used to listen to them fifteen years prior.

I have numerous stories like that, and I have another one to add to my collection: The debate over plastic vs. paper straws.

I was aware of this battle being waged on the internet and I just kind of sat there and politely nodded whenever anyone griped about how plastic is terrible for the environment or how paper straws are for snowflake libs. I was Switzerland in this conflict; completely neutral.

That all changed when I was attacked and forced to select a side...


I went to Starbucks to grab an iced tea. It was a hot day and I like to focus on the small things in life that bring me joy (my therapist told me to start doing that). I waited on my drink and my name was called by the barista.

"Unsweetened, black iced tea for Matt."

Wow, what a good start we were off to. They had my name correct. Not "Pat," nor "Nat," nor "Max," but Matt.

I graciously thanked the barista for the bounty they had provided and took the accompanying straw. This was where the trouble began...

Starbucks has those green straws, and as far as straws go,  they are top-notch. I love a good Starbucks straw.

However, this straw was different. There was something off about it.

The familiar green color was still there, but it now had a rougher finish to it almost like... paper.

I was disheartened, but thought perhaps there is a chance the paper straw will be alright, so I took a sip, but my delicious tea was now paired with notes of paper.

I continued to sip until the structural fortitude of the paper straw had been compromised and turned to mush, at which point I bid my drink "good day" and threw it in the garbage, where it belonged.


The anti-straw movement is one that is pro-environment. I get that. I like the environment too, but I also like plastic straws because the don't make my drink taste like ass.

I initially believed that the plastic straw was being eschewed because it was creating waste. Obviously it is, but there's way more plastic in the cup that the drink was served in. I'm going to throw both of them away at the same time in the same place. They die together, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

However, I then heard what I believe is the real culprit behind the plastic straw boycott: a single photo/video of a sea turtle with a straw crammed in its nose.

This is very sad...

...Ok, now we can actually talk about it.

I know victim blaming isn't cool in 2019, but that sea turtle needs to be held accountable to a degree. How do you get a straw straight up your nose like that? Some guy didn't come by and pound it in to the turtle's nostril with a mallet. The li'l fella swam into it.

I know the oceans are full of garbage, and it's terrible, but do you realize how big the ocean is? That turtle hit a single straw floating in the middle of the ocean at such a perfect angle that it went straight up its nose. That's like a one in a billion shot! 

I'm not sure what a turtle's eye-sight is like, but I'm pretty sure that even if you had your eyes closed and someone tried to stuff a straw up your nose, you'd realize it.

Didn't the turtle see the straw coming? Why was the turtle inhaling through its nose underwater? How do we know the turtle wasn't using the straw to do lines of coke?

THESE are the questions that I have.

Whatever the case is my point is that while sad, I'm not letting one turtle's misfortune dissuade me from using a superior straw. 

Who thought dunking a straw made of paper was a good idea in the first place? I don't know, but I bet he was riding a recumbent bicycle when he came up with the idea.

Somehow this whole thing devolved into a political debate, which is just insane to me.

I'm pro-plastic straw because they work the best.

But Matt, metal straws are great. You should carry one around with you. That way you're saving the environment AND it won't mess up your drink.



... shut up. Don't tell me what to do.


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