Recent bans on plastic straws by municipalities and businesses have unveiled an unintended consequence of the environmental initiative: hindering people with disabilities.
In an effort to reduce waste and the amount of plastic trash that ends up in the ocean, Alaska Airlines announced plans back in May to replace single-use straws with marine-friendly drink stirrers sometime this summer.
Earlier this month, the city of Seattle announced a ban on plastic straws and other disposable items that’s been in the works for a decade.
On Monday, Starbucks said they’ll phase out the use of straws by 2020, and American Airlines followed suit the next day with the promise of replacing straws with stirrers beginning in November.
Proponents of the bans point to alternatives like metal or paper straws as a solution, but each of those options have downsides — paper straws are flimsy and metal straws can get too hot or too cold.