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Unintended consequences from plastic straw bans might be harming the environment even more

Environmentalists have proposed that local governments ban plastic straws in order 

to spare the environment, but an unintended consequence might be leading to even 

worse results.

As Scott Duke Kominers of Bloomberg explains, customers like the metal straws 

that replaced the banned plastic straws so much that they are stealing them from 

restaurants, believing it to be a minor grievance against the business.

But that means that metal straws may be doing more harm to the environment than 

their plastic counterparts.

...this means the metal straws -- which presumably required mining, plus large amounts of energy to convert into sheet metal and then fashion it into a cylindrical tube -- don't provide the intended environmental benefit.
Kominers points out that there are no studies yet on the efficacy of banning plastic 

straws, but he points to similar studies on the lack of efficacy of banning plastic bags.

Reusable plastic bags take much more energy to produce than single use plastic bags 

because they're thicker. Studies show that in order to make up the difference, each 

reusable plastic bag has to be used about 40 times to make up the difference. But 

given that many end up being stuffed into closets or used as trash liners, this is very 


Metal straws are also many times more expensive for restaurants to replace, costing 

between $1 and $3 each. That means they might really be hurting restaurant 


Finally, one last reason to bring back plastic straws is that people are much less 

likely to fall, get impaled through the brain with a plastic straw, and die a day later.

Here's a video on whether plastic bans work:


  1. wow plastic straw industry, grasping at straws much there?

  2. Waiting for the "save the tURtLEs" comments from all of those brain dead public indoctrination center pupils , Aka: public schools

  3. I hardly think we are going to save the environment by banning plastic straws. How much space to they really take up in the landfill once they have been crushed by the big tractor? Same with single use bags for that matter. And around our house we reuse many of the single use bags, usually for trash. Is it better to buy trash bags which are also single use?