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Environmentally friendly straws catching on in Japan, but some hesitate

32 Comments
By Natsumi Yoshida

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32 Comments
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Oh no! Don't stand out to take care of the environment. Anything but standing out!

4 ( +11 / -7 )

I gave up using straws....... when I was 5.... (^_-)

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Wait! So no one around you is using one!? The horror...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Wait! So no one around you is using one!? The horror...

How are we meant to know how to do something if the group isn't doing it and the government isn't telling us what to do?!!!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Kind of silly to put this on the consumer.

The multi billion dollar companies pack tens of millions of items monthly with straws.

If they did not, then we too, would not.

But they make massive profits so they do not!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

There are many restaurants in Japan that don't use straws, so how about not using them entirely. Cause even reusable straws have carbon footprint.

They probably need to produce a bigger version otherwise some can't get their tapioca fix.

Would it be better if Japan tries to bring back their an old culture of bringing their own tableware.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nothing I drink requires a straw...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It's just an idea but...

What about stop using straws when you're an adult ?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Can you just drink it straight?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

First, how is it 'inconvenient' to carry a reusable straw when many people in Japan carry with them their bento chopsticks with them in their purse/bag/suitcase on a daily basis? If you can fit those in your bag, the same case can most likely carry a straw.

Second, washing out one of these doesn't require a 'special brush' or any other hogwash. Soap, water, and a pipe cleaner. Or if you don't want that, do what I did in the Army with my rifle: I slid a string with a bit of cloth on the end through the barrel, pulled it through, and voila... two passes and my rifle was spotless clean. You can even reuse and wash that string and bit of cloth too.

Finally, this whole 'fitting in' thing... ugh. Before they had these straws, you know what I did? Horror of horrors, I passed on the straw and drank from the glass directly.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Usually women use straws because if they drink from glasses their lipstick will stick to the glasses and have to re-apply. If the plastic straws posses danger to the environment, reusable stainless steel straws posses danger to the public especially kids and can be used as a weapon. Why not invent a non stick lipstick than can only be removed by using water and soap.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

And get rid of all kinds of straws!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Straws? Some countries have banned plastic bags. A straw does seem pretty minor although got to start somewhere. Next my life size love doll will be banned, noooo not her.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Straw is not the only part of the problem. I was watching a piece on Tokio 0yen shokudo yesterday and they were harvesting bananas. The final shot showed the each banana separately carefully packed in a plastic bag for sale. I think thats a bit overkill, but hey, they are great quality and should be kept at great quality so we can sell each banana for 10000 yen a piece...pfffff

Im glad kitkat has decided to move to paper packaging, more companies should follow suit, there is not need for all the plastic, its too much.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I’m yet to see someone using one. Reusable straws does cut down the amount of straws used, but very few people are using them, which means they will have very little impact. biodegradable straws are the real solution. Go back to waxed paper straws.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If the plastic straws posses danger to the environment, reusable stainless steel straws posses danger to the public especially kids and can be used as a weapon.

Seriously?.......guess you and your circle never use chopsticks, knives, forks and all the other lethal daily  utensils that are " a danger to the public and can be used as a weapon " ?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Plastic straws suck.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Seriously?.......guess you and your circle never use chopsticks, knives, forks and all the other lethal daily utensils that are " a danger to the public and can be used as a weapon " ?

Even my hands can be used as a weapon and they are not even sharp!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

riddance of plastic straws, a good step but what about the millions of plastic bento boxes, bags, wrapping, etc.?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Japanese people that I talked to about this issue said that Japanese people's palates are so "uniquely sensitive" that the new straws ruin the taste.

I wasn't sure what that meant because I am pretty sure if that is true then those same people would also taste the plastic straws.

Anything that is important like the environment will always take some sacrifice to maintain.

Why can't people get that through their heads? It isn't all about them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I support the stoppage of single-use plastics, but unfortunately I still haven't used a plastic straw alternative that was any good. I'm not a fan of the paper straws, though I am ok with using them over plastic.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If you're a grown-up you don't need to drink with a straw. The only possible exception id if you're a hot girl and you're flirting.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Ban straws if you want, but it won't make a difference in the overall plastic consumption, or in the amount of plastic in the ocean. If you look at the science, the largest contributor to plastic in the oceans is discarded fishing nets/fishing gear. As for other plastic, most comes from China, the Philippines, Vietnam, etc. A very small percentage comes from western countries, and a very small percentage of THAT small percentage is plastic straws.

A classic example is Starbucks. They are planning to eliminate straws. Great, right? Except that, as a result, they have redesigned the actual lids on their cups. The redesigned lid uses as much plastic as the old lid plus straw combo, even more than the straw combo on large size drinks. Posturing without results. Welcome to environmental activism, limousine liberal style.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Trying to cut down on single use plastic here myself, but it's not easy. There is one fast food establishment where I need to train myself to say 'No straw, please!' to the staff, but I often forget. And, one more slips through the net!

Recently I read a report where one company switched over to biodegradable straws but a scientific study showed that they were so sturdily made, they were to all intents and purposes indestructible and little better than plastic ones.

Interestingly, straws were being used hundreds of years ago, made of... wait for it, yes, you guessed it, straw.

In Japan there was a custom of carrying your own bamboo water bottle hanging from the obi/sash. Many of these had a built-in straw, retractable, made of a narrow length of bamboo. I have an example water container here from the Edo Period, with a lacquered stopper, and the separate beautifully-made straw attached to it by an indigo cord.

We had it right once upon a time...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There are plenty of people with health problems who need a straw, so casually saying, Who needs a straw when they're an adult is blinkered and ableist.

Replacing plastic straws with something either biodegradable or sturdy makes perfect sense.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Stunning and brave.

The entire plastic straw movement is just for making people feel good about themselves for 'taking a stand'. It has such a negligible environmental impact compared to all of the things that could be otherwise changed about 21st century daily life.

But go ahead and help yourself to a quarter of that box of 32 cookies individually-wrapped in plastic, and wash it down through your bamboo straw if it makes you feel like you're standing in solidarity with your unwashed American armchair activist brethren.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I question why adults are using straws on a regular basis anyway.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Attila makes a good point in that though straws are wasteful, they are not a huge environmental problem and the alternatives are far from perfect. This takes energy away from other huge environmental problems, increasing use of coal in Japan, a transport system based on private cars, increasing aviation, huge meat consumption, etc. etc.

See that story the other day on JT about pet bottles vs. aluminum cans for more interesting research on eco things that might be eco or mightn't be eco, depending on what the priorities are. It is very difficult, if not realistically impossible, for ordinary people to understand the big picture effect of consumer choices. They are also subject to commercial propaganda ("all-natural", "biodegradable") designed to mislead. It's the "low fat" foods full of artificial sugars all over again. This means the government really needs to step in and take the lead.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I question why adults are using straws on a regular basis anyway.

Juice cartons from the combini typically come with straws and the way they are made do not realistically allow another way of drinking them on the move.

The manufacturers need to change the way they make drink cartons.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Penny wise pound foolish complete and utter idiocy. Everything I buy is either wrapped in single use plastic or double wrapped in single use plastic even though it need not be. Plastic straws can be re-used and they simply should be. Plus I have used them for other purposes where an "alternative" straw would have been useless. Hell, if someone is chocking and needs emergency intubatation, what the hell you gonna use now? Hope someone has a pen handy in the texting age?

Just reintroduce paper wrapping, waxed if need be. Leave the stupid straws be.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can't remember the last time I used a straw, but the focus should not be upon straws alone when combating this modern day scourge of plastic within our Oceans.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They should make and sell cleaning (brush) device for reusable Straw.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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