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Sucking it up to save the oceans

Starbucks is using compostable straws at its stores. (MyNorthwest)

I was enjoying a full-bodied, free-range Root Beer float the other day when I noticed something very different about the straw. By the end of the drink it was getting soft.

Apparently the restaurant was inspired by the Strawless Ocean Initiative. It’s a worldwide campaign to replace plastic straws with paper straws to raise consciousness about ocean pollution. In fact, consciousness was raised to such a level in Seattle that last week it became the first city to enact a mandatory ban.

This, of course, is being ridiculed as part of the snowflakification of America. Except, as my root beer straw got softer and softer, it brought back a memory: that’s what straws did when I was a kid back in the 50’s — back when America was great the first time! All the straws were paper.

That’s why plastic straws were invented, so you could use them over and over. But now it turns out the so-called recycling economy has its problems, too. A lot of plastic is too difficult to recycle — like straws — so it ends up as micro-particles or microscopic ocean confetti. It’s become the universal side dish for anything that feeds in the ocean.

And ultimately that includes us. So maybe it’s inconvenient, but if a ban on plastic straws means I’ll swallow less plastic, then maybe it’s time to — what’s the expression? — oh yeah — suck it up.

Read more of Dave Ross’ commentaries, which air on KIRO Radio every day at 7:35 a.m. 

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