Give incentive to straw manufacturers to use biodegradable plastics

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Plastic straws are under fire for their contribution to the global plastic crisis, with an estimated 4.4 billion being used annually in the fast food industry alone (BBC, 2018). The type of plastic currently used to make single-use plastic straws is recyclable.

Many people with disabilities rely on plastic straws to stay hydrated safely and independently of carers. Alternative materials, such as paper or reusable metal straws, do not offer as many features like the ability to position the straw or their suitability for hot drinks.

For this reason, I am calling on the government to call for a change in the material that plastic straws are made from. Currently, straws are made from Polypropylene which is a “highly recyclable” plastic, however it is not recycled due to the small size of straws - they often fall off conveyor belts and end up going to landfill (Earth 911, 2018). The ideal material would be a bio-degradable bio-plastic. An example is a polyactic acid plastics (Johnson, 2013) . Whilst this type of plastic is more expensive than traditional plastic, I would ask the government to give companies an incentive to change from the traditional methods and materials of straw manufacturing.

Banning plastic straws completely is not good enough, as it gives some people with disabilities another barrier. If single use plastic straws were manufactured using biodegradable plastic it would reduce the amount of plastic waste without removing an item which some people rely on for their independence. 

Sign my petition to change the material used to make plastic straws.