Should Plastic Straws Be Banned?

September 28, 2018
JAIME GRILL—JGI/GETTY IMAGES

People are taking a stand against plastic straws. On July 1, they were banned in Seattle, Washington. Then Starbucks announced plans to phase out plastic straws by 2020. More plastic-straw bans have followed.

Plastic is harmful to the environment. Some say banning plastic straws is an important step toward saving our planet. Others think plastic-straw bans are unnecessary and inconvenient. Here, two TFK Kid Reporters weigh in.

Yes!

by TFK Kid Reporter Josh Lee, 12

Chicago, Illinois

Plastic straws may help you drink without spilling, but the long-term costs are too high. Americans use 500 million drinking straws each day. When they are thrown away, they pollute our landfills and oceans. Marine animals sometimes mistake the plastic for food. There’s a viral video on YouTube that shows a turtle with a straw stuck up its nose! It’s okay for people to be attached to using straws, but there are good alternatives to plastic ones. People can buy paper or steel straws to carry with them. And many cities across the U.S. have restricted the use of plastic straws unless a person requests one. Passing more laws to ban plastic straws will not solve the problem, but it is a good first step.

No!

by TFK Kid Reporter Maria Suarez, 10

Bellaire, Texas

Plastic straws should not be banned until we can find alternatives that are affordable, environmentally friendly, and acceptable for disabled people. Why? Many people with disabilities rely on flexible straws to drink safely and independently. Without plastic straws, people might use paper straws. But producing paper products uses a lot of energy. Plus, it creates air and water pollution. And paper can be used only once. Plastic can be reused and recycled. My dad and I wash and reuse nontoxic plastic straws. Finally, it is wrong to think that banning plastic straws will save the oceans. Instead, we should teach people to properly dispose of trash so it doesn’t end up on beaches or in waterways.

The Next Debate! We want to hear from you! Do we still need daylight saving time? Email your opinion to tfkasks4you@timeforkids.com. Your response might be featured in an upcoming issue.