Tuesday 13 August 2019

The plastic straw ban and how it affects me and other disabled people

Plastic straws are a bit of an essential for me. I use plastic straws as I have a lot of weakness in my wrists due to hypermobility and palsies (paralysis in my wrists used by problems with my nerves brought on may my FND) so lifting cups and tipping a cup to drink can be tricky. I also use lidded cups buace of my tremor and involuntary momnetnts, and just being a clumsy person, plus lidded cups are a lighter weight with again are easier for me to hold. Also one of the gadgets I use are 'Safe Sip' lids which you have to use straws in them (they're stretchy lids that go over cups to make them un-spillable). 

I've also found a lot of straw alternatives unsuitable - they fall apart, I injure myself on them, I'm allergic to them, they can't be used in hot drink, they're not 100% hygienic, they cut off when bent or can't be bent etc.

I have had a lot of backlash at times when I've brought up the subject of plastic straws online. People saying "Well I'm disabled and I don't need straws" or "get silicone straws" or "carry some straws around with you and other comments and having to justify myself gets rather tiresome.

Note please not at home our plastic strawd are used and washed to death, literally. We use them until they die, and to be environmentally friendly we do cut them up before binning them so that they don't cause harm to wildlife.

Another reason why I need opposable bendable plastic is that because of my disabilities I have to lay flat a lot of the time, I also need to drink more fluids than most people so laying flat and having the drink means that the only suitable straws for me is a bendy plastic straw that will stay in position.

The plastic straw ban has had a huge affect on me. First off, drinking out. What I really don't get is that I'm given a plastic lid on my cup, a plastic fork for my fruit with is in a plastic tub yet I'm given a paper straw for my coffee?! Where is the sense in that?! Apart from one place I'm now given a straw alternative; usually paper straws with a) will undoubtably fall apart in my drink, hot or cold or b) I will have an allergic reaction to the dye in the straw or c) it's not opposable making it hard to drink with when reclined. One place gave me a recycled biodegradable plastic straw, the problem with this straw was that it epically melted in my coffee and with it being a hard plastic rather than the soft plastic of a body straw every time I had an involuntary movement I jabbed the roof of my mouth (ouch), it also wasn't opposable which like the paper straw it made it hard to drink with when reclined.

I'm all for looking after the plant. In our house we recycle everything the local council say we can recycle and we moan about what could be recycled but what the local council don't.

Disabled people are getting a lot of backlash about their need for bendy plastic straws, and this usually comes from non-disabled people who don't understand our need for them and how they are an essential to be able to simply drink.

Plans to make bendy plastic straws available at places like pharmacies just make it harder for disabled people ostracising disabled people and making disabled people feel the bad person for using  plastic straws.. Instead, why not educate people and give people a choice. In supermarkets have paper straws next to the bendy plastic straws and in cafés have a handful of plastic straws so when a person asks if they could have one they can but for staff not to ask the disabled people to justify why they need the plastic straw over a paper straw. And this brings me onto another thought, under the Disability Discrimination Act and Equality Act which means that resonate adjustments must be made for disabled people, would providing plastic straws to disabled people be classed as a reasonable adjustment by law?

Recently in the new's people have been complaining that the paper straws in MacDonald's ruin their milkshakes, instead people should spare a thought for disabled people who have to put up wth paper straws ruining every drink they have.

I totally understand the world's view to try and be more eco-friendly but it should have been more thought out. Like when drinks are served in plastic cups or with plastic lids but I've never seen a recycling bin in a café. And going back to MacDonald's, they're new 'eco friendly paper straws' are not actually recyclable.

All-in-all just spare a thought to disable people who to them plastic straws are a necessity and not a choice.