It seems Americans have another thing to fight about these days – plastic straws. While those concerned about the environment push for a ban, caregivers of folks with disabilities are equally troubled about the problems a ban would create. As companies like Starbucks and Disney side with the environmental groups, opposition is growing, not only among caregivers of the elderly or the disabled, but also within groups of misinformed people. Memes are popping up across social media mocking the absurdity of the ban, causing further division in a country that seems to thrive on controversy.
Whatever side of the plastic straw issue you happen to be on, you need to know there are alternatives. For example, I started carrying glass straws in my purse years ago. I had them available for myself and my grandchildren. It was a simple solution to what I saw as a growing problem facing the world – the abundance of single-use plastic products.
Online companies, such as CaregiverProducts.com offer a wide array of adaptive daily living aids, including several solutions to the problem facing those in need of drinking straws. As I mentioned, there are glass drinking straws by companies like Glass Dharma®, which offers straws in various lengths and widths. They even have bent straws. And all their straws come with a lifetime guarantee against breakage.
For those who need flexible straws, CaregiverProducts.com offers 28” extra-long flexible drinking straws made from BPA-free polyethylene that can be cut to size with a pair of scissors.
They also sell flexible steel straws. For straight straws, they have clear Plexiglas® straws. And for outings and time outside where bugs can be a problem, there are 11” flexible straws with covers that just happen to be large enough for drinking milkshakes and creamy soups.
With the exception of compostable and biodegradable paper straws and straws made from grain and edible materials, the plastic straw alternatives are washable and reusable. You just have to get used to carrying them with you as you care for others who might need them. And don’t let cleaning the straws stop you. Many are dishwasher safe. For handwashing, all you need is a set of cleaning brushes like the ones shown here from Glass Dharma.
No one is suggesting we eliminate straws, only that we make wiser choices that are not only good for the earth and its wildlife, but are good for people, too… especially people who need adaptive aids for drinking safely.