Views From BCITS Member AJ on the Plastic Straw Ban

AJ is a member of BCITS.  As a person living with disabilities he is a keen advocate.  Here’s an article from AJ voicing his opinion on plastic straw bans. See below to read the full piece.

Plastic Straw Ban, Exceptions

Dear CITY OF VANCOUVER,, members of the disability community, and all concerned,

It has come to my attention that you are conducting an initiative to ban the use of “single use” plastic drinking straws.

Good Initiative, But…

I appreciate this initiative from the point of view of protecting oceans and wildlife, however, there needs to be a recognition that certain groups require the use of drinking straws, that those groups are capable of using them wisely, and that they should not be deprived of them.

Some w/ Disabilities Require Straws

I can tell you personally that, as a person with a disability, I require the use of a straw when drinking (as I often must do) when laying down, etc. (not in a vertical position).  In situations like this, a straw is the only way a person, that cannot (voluntarily) sit up or stand, is able to drink.

Please Adjust Campaign Accordingly

Therefore, on behalf of those in the disability community, I must request that you please adjust your campaign to include removal of such products from general use and availability, except when customers rightly ask for them for the purpose of assisting someone with a disability (or similar situation).

Re-Using & Recycling Plastic Straws

When it comes to responsible use, I can tell you that I wash and reuse my plastic drinking straws hundreds of times over, and discard them (recycling where possible) only when they are no longer usable.  If a multi-use, biodegradable version became available, I would happily use that.

Since I originally wrote this response, I have become aware of several products available, including bamboo, titanium, paper and other reusable/recyclable versions.  They can be found at these websites*:

The Aardvark product is apparently made of paper and biodegradable, seemingly appropriate for sustainable use in restaurants, where single use might still be justifiable.

Thank you for your attention.

Thank you for your attention. Again, although this is a good initiative, exceptions are needed for those with disabilities that require straws. Please adjust your campaign to include this exception.


*Please note: I have neither seen, nor tried any of these products.

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