Article from Reason by Christian Britschgi.

Plastic straw bans won’t help the environment, but that’s no reason not to pass them.

Or so argue straw prohibitionists who want the little suckers outlawed in the hope of provoking environmentally friendly soul searching among inconvenienced consumers. “Straw bans aren’t going to save the ocean, but they could jumpstart much-needed conversations about the level of non-biodegradable trash in them,” writes Vox‘s Radhika Viswanathan, who gets all the facts about straws and their minimal effect on the environment right but still manages to come out in favor of a ban.

Viswanathan is joined by Dune Ives, executive director of the environmental group Lonely Whale, which has has targeted straws as a “gateway plastic.” With “plastic water bottles too endemic, plastic bags already somewhat politicized, and no viable alternative for the plastic cup in ALL markets,” Ives wrote in an October 2017 blog post, her organization had to find something to ban.

Does it make sense to support ineffectual bans in the hope that they might, through the power of conversation, spark an attitudinal change? Petty restrictions on people’s behavior usually makes them less sympathetic, not more, to the cause the rules are supposed to serve. And whatever benefits they might produce must be weighed against the very real costs they impose on those forced to comply with them.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons