Harmful plastic straw bans versus actual ocean cleanup technology

Banning plastic straws and plastic bags are justified to as part of a solution to plastic in the oceans and reduction of landfill. Even advocates admit that these regulations will not solve the ocean problem. Straw bans are intended as a gateway plastic to encourage the movement to biodegradable trash.

Many people with disabilities need straws to consume foods and beverages.

In 2015, researchers found the world has 275 million metric tons of plastic waste in one year and 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons get into the oceans.

Straws are only 0.03% of plastics that enter the oceans in a given year.

People with neuromuscular disabilities and Down’s syndrome will be put at greater health risks by not having easy access to plastic straws.

Ocean Cleanup Technology can remove half the ocean plastic in 5 years

Cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch using conventional methods – vessels and nets – would take thousands of years and tens of billions of dollars to complete. Our passive systems are estimated to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage patch in just five years, and at a fraction of the cost.

Ocean cleanup technology creates an artificial coastline. The Ocean cleanup system consists of a 600-meter-long floater that sits at the surface of the water and a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt attached below. The floater provides buoyancy to the system and prevents plastic from flowing over it, while the skirt stops debris from escaping underneath.

Both the plastic and system are being carried by the current. However, wind and waves propel only the system, as the floater sits just above the water surface, while the plastic is primarily just beneath it. The system thus moves faster than the plastic, allowing the plastic to be captured.

Models show that a full-scale cleanup system roll-out (a fleet of approximately 60 systems) could clean 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just five years.

After fleets of systems are deployed into every ocean gyre, combined with source reduction, The Ocean Cleanup projects to be able to remove 90% of ocean plastic by 2040.

Many other regulations that inconvenience people but do not solve problems

Plastic bag bans can increase the public health risk from bacteria in reusable bags. The bans do not solve the problem.

There are the kabuki airport security where people have to remove shoes and belts instead of having the equipment and procedures followed by the Israeli’s and others for actual safer travel.

63 thoughts on “Harmful plastic straw bans versus actual ocean cleanup technology”

  1. What did all you disabled people do before straws were invented? I believe it was a Doctor who responded: They aspirated liquids into their lungs and died of pneumonia. They also may need to drink hotter liquids and paper straws do not work as well for that. Why force something inferior on everyone when there is the alternative solution of performing a clean up the Pacific patch.

    Reply
  2. The solution is obvious. Drink beer straight from the bottle, drink spirits from a crystal tumbler, drink tea and coffee from a ceramic cup, drink water straight from the tap, and don’t drink anything else. They’ve just banned reusable shopping bags in the big supermarkets in Australia, and I’m slightly mollified by the news that having everyone using their own, non-standard, disorganised bags means that checkouts have become less efficient. So it’s cost the companies MORE money, rather than saving them costs they could greenwash into being a positive change. Serves them right.

    Reply
  3. You don’t have to ban them, just charge for them. Straws for the disabled can be exempt (I imagine its a tiny fraction of the total). I am all for technological solutions but why can’t we do both? You never know until you try whether its actually going to work.

    Reply
  4. The solution is obvious. Drink beer straight from the bottle drink spirits from a crystal tumbler drink tea and coffee from a ceramic cup drink water straight from the tap and don’t drink anything else.They’ve just banned reusable shopping bags in the big supermarkets in Australia and I’m slightly mollified by the news that having everyone using their own non-standard disorganised bags means that checkouts have become less efficient. So it’s cost the companies MORE money rather than saving them costs they could greenwash into being a positive change. Serves them right.

    Reply
  5. Only about 1{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of the plastic in the ocean comes from the US. Most comes from Asia.

    Reply
  6. You don’t have to ban them just charge for them. Straws for the disabled can be exempt (I imagine its a tiny fraction of the total). I am all for technological solutions but why can’t we do both? You never know until you try whether its actually going to work.

    Reply
  7. Hopefully if there is an extra cost, it is more than offset by the improvement in image given the damage caused by plastic bags in our environment. Its certainly improved their image in my mind, although they are years behind Europe.

    Reply
  8. It is absolutely INCREDIBLE that people in the 21st century may be so insensitive to react this way . I mean, plastic is trash, we should us it as less as possible and promote recycling and e reuse This is not genious thinking but just pure common sense If you go to the supermarker, what is the damn point to use everything and everytime a new bag? Would not it be better to have your own bag that you reuse every time. Common sense, guys!!

    Reply
  9. Kalifornia: The only place that ends criminal prosecution of knowingly transmitting HIV to another person while banning plastic straws.

    Reply
  10. It hasn’t (AFAIK) caused “problems” at the checkout, it just slows the process down enough to cost more than the 2 c per bag or whatever that they were hoping to save. If I try to make a rough calculation: If the checkout chick is being paid $20/h, then 2 c per bag is only 3.6 seconds. If it takes 4 extra seconds per bag because everyone has a different bag and they aren’t all neatly lined up… then there goes the cost savings.

    Reply
  11. Hopefully if there is an extra cost it is more than offset by the improvement in image given the damage caused by plastic bags in our environment. Its certainly improved their image in my mind although they are years behind Europe.

    Reply
  12. It is absolutely INCREDIBLE that people in the 21st century may be so insensitive to react this way . I mean plastic is trash we should us it as less as possible and promote recycling and e reuse This is not genious thinking but just pure common sense If you go to the supermarker what is the damn point to use everything and everytime a new bag? Would not it be better to have your own bag that you reuse every time. Common sense guys!!

    Reply
  13. Kalifornia: The only place that ends criminal prosecution of knowingly transmitting HIV to another person while banning plastic straws.

    Reply
  14. It hasn’t (AFAIK) caused problems”” at the checkout”” it just slows the process down enough to cost more than the 2 c per bag or whatever that they were hoping to save. If I try to make a rough calculation: If the checkout chick is being paid $20/h”” then 2 c per bag is only 3.6 seconds. If it takes 4 extra seconds per bag because everyone has a different bag and they aren’t all neatly lined up… then there goes the cost savings.”””

    Reply
  15. I agree with the plastic straw ban, as I agree with plastic bag bans and really any single-use plastic that is not necessary. As far as disabled folks are concerned, there are many other materials that straws can be made from, including steel and glass. For those who say they need the straw to be bendy and easy to manipulate, buy your own and carry it around with you so you can re-use it multiple times. There are always solutions if we look for them. Suggesting that continuing to generate plastic garbage is ok becuase it makes things more convenient for you or saves you a few cents is sociopathic and future generations will curse you and wonder how you could have been so selfish when you were fully aware of the consequences of you actions on others. Will this ban solve all of our pollution problems? Of course not, but thousand mile journey begin with one step..

    Reply
  16. I agree with the plastic straw ban as I agree with plastic bag bans and really any single-use plastic that is not necessary. As far as disabled folks are concerned there are many other materials that straws can be made from including steel and glass. For those who say they need the straw to be bendy and easy to manipulate buy your own and carry it around with you so you can re-use it multiple times. There are always solutions if we look for them. Suggesting that continuing to generate plastic garbage is ok becuase it makes things more convenient for you or saves you a few cents is sociopathic and future generations will curse you and wonder how you could have been so selfish when you were fully aware of the consequences of you actions on others.Will this ban solve all of our pollution problems? Of course not but thousand mile journey begin with one step..

    Reply
  17. Not sure in norway we uses plastic bags however they are charged for and pretty durable so tend to be used for garbage afterward. If they stopped using them you would have to buy separate garbage bags anyway eliminating most of the benefits anyway.

    Reply
  18. Not sure in norway we uses plastic bags, however they are charged for and pretty durable so tend to be used for garbage afterward. If they stopped using them you would have to buy separate garbage bags anyway eliminating most of the benefits anyway.

    Reply
  19. The straw ban here in the US is a moral panic. “We must do SOMETHING to stop oceanic plastics!” But where does the vast, vast majority of the waste come from? The US? No… Africa and Asia. So, we can pat ourselves on the back for having ‘done something’ – which was inconsequential in the first place.

    Reply
  20. The straw ban here in the US is a moral panic. We must do SOMETHING to stop oceanic plastics!””But where does the vast”” vast majority of the waste come from? The US? No… Africa and Asia.So”” we can pat ourselves on the back for having ‘done something’ – which was inconsequential in the first place.”””

    Reply
  21. The thing is at places like Aldi, you usually put your stuff in an aldi bag, take them out for checkout, then pack your own groceries. So, it doesn’t really matter how disorganised your bags are cause you pack your own. The reusable bags come in all shapes and sizes, and it has been a bit akward for our checkout chicks to hook the plastic around the new bag dispensers. That being said, I think there will be plenty of profit for the big supermarkets. I always have bags in my car, but most of the time I forget to take them in with me and am required to spend 15 cents a bag.

    Reply
  22. The thing is at places like Aldi you usually put your stuff in an aldi bag take them out for checkout then pack your own groceries. So it doesn’t really matter how disorganised your bags are cause you pack your own. The reusable bags come in all shapes and sizes and it has been a bit akward for our checkout chicks to hook the plastic around the new bag dispensers. That being said I think there will be plenty of profit for the big supermarkets. I always have bags in my car but most of the time I forget to take them in with me and am required to spend 15 cents a bag.

    Reply
  23. Yes it is fairly standard in Australia to reuse the shopping bags as garbage bags too. Or at least it has been up till now.I personally bought a house and found that in the basement there were 10 thousand new plastic bags in the original manufacturer’s shipping packs. So I won’t run out of garbage bags for a while yet. (Also in the house when I bought it a full wine cellar 50 unmatched gloves a 3 year old BMW 530i. Lawn mower. Chainsaw. 190 new fish tanks… It was a good buy.)

    Reply
  24. Yes, it is fairly standard in Australia to reuse the shopping bags as garbage bags too. Or at least it has been up till now. I, personally, bought a house and found that in the basement there were 10 thousand new plastic bags, in the original manufacturer’s shipping packs. So I won’t run out of garbage bags for a while yet. (Also in the house when I bought it, a full wine cellar, 50 unmatched gloves, a 3 year old BMW 530i. Lawn mower. Chainsaw. 190 new fish tanks… It was a good buy.)

    Reply
  25. You are so very wrong. It is a health risk to carry straws and same for plastic bags. Stel and glass are also problematic. Do you think every business will buy an autoclave for steel straws? Cleaning up after a shake? How? Plastic bags that you carry then throw away :if the had food that is easily contaminating that bag (worse for the unsanitary cloth)(or other) bags. The solutions take time and thought. Do something is not effective at all.

    Reply
  26. Finally, some intelligence! The panic reaction be so-called ‘greenies”has done more damage that good. It is one thing to be healthy and quite another to have injuries or ill health. Straws need to stay in place same for plastic bags as convenience is valuable. The healthy need to understand what injuries do to long term quality of life. Most cannot afford cutting edge treatment or care. We live with pan and restrictions. Now, it is found that the panic was unnecessary after all. I’m waiting for the repeal of these badly thought out acts.

    Reply
  27. You are so very wrong. It is a health risk to carry straws and same for plastic bags. Stel and glass are also problematic. Do you think every business will buy an autoclave for steel straws? Cleaning up after a shake? How? Plastic bags that you carry then throw away :if the had food that is easily contaminating that bag (worse for the unsanitary cloth)(or other) bags. The solutions take time and thought. Do something is not effective at all.

    Reply
  28. Finally some intelligence! The panic reaction be so-called ‘greenieshas done more damage that good. It is one thing to be healthy and quite another to have injuries or ill health. Straws need to stay in place same for plastic bags as convenience is valuable. The healthy need to understand what injuries do to long term quality of life. Most cannot afford cutting edge treatment or care. We live with pan and restrictions. Now”” it is found that the panic was unnecessary after all. I’m waiting for the repeal of these badly thought out acts.”

    Reply
  29. Paper straws were what everybody used not that long ago. They worked just fine back then and they’ll be just fine now. Note, there are just too damn many straws used anyway. You ever go into a restaurant and have them give you a glass of water and a straw for??? It seems to be common to do that now, but almost nobody actually needs that stupid straw….

    Reply
  30. Back in the heady moralizing days of China’s poet and Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, the Chinese were desperately poor. However, they had the moralizing of those such as Comrade Henrique. They did thing like replacing the filaments of light bulbs to minimize waste. Then Deng Xiaoping took over and allowed markets to work, as in, “practice is the sole criterion of truth,” With markets, the Chinese people could generate much more value with new light bulbs than with repairing old bulbs. The result was a lot more discarded waste material. (A milder but comparable progression happened in India.) This is much like Western Europe and North America where poverty-born frugality faded toward large amounts of waste as new materials became much more affordable..

    In Western Europe and North America, those waste streams were often carried off to sea by dumping in rivers or shiploads of trash from garbage scows at sea. South Asia and East Asia are still in the garbage scow phase of development, and they are the major source of plastic washing out to sea in the Pacific. As Feurbach, Marx, and Bill Clinton would say, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Fortunately, as these areas develop prosperity, they are increasingly willing to massively reduce such pollution. The “Western” countries have already made that passage, and the new economic tigers will also. The advanced economies can encourage with practical measures of land fills and recycling–not with caterwauling histrionics about three-tenths of one percent of the waste stream.

    Reply
  31. Its obvious not only to me but most people. It’s weird here because this blog seems to be overrun by people who have a knee-jerk reaction against anything that even remotely can be associated with “environmentalists”, what ever that means.

    Reply
  32. You are so very wrong. It is a health risk to carry straws and same for plastic bags. Stel and glass are also problematic. Do you think every business will buy an autoclave for steel straws? Cleaning up after a shake? How? Plastic bags that you carry then throw away :if the had food that is easily contaminating that bag (worse for the unsanitary cloth)(or other) bags. The solutions take time and thought.
    Do something is not effective at all.

    Reply
  33. Finally, some intelligence! The panic reaction be so-called ‘greenies”has done more damage that good. It is one thing to be healthy and quite another to have injuries or ill health. Straws need to stay in place same for plastic bags as convenience is valuable.
    The healthy need to understand what injuries do to long term quality of life. Most cannot afford cutting edge treatment or care. We live with pan and restrictions. Now, it is found that the panic was unnecessary after all. I’m waiting for the repeal of these badly thought out acts.

    Reply
  34. Yes, it is fairly standard in Australia to reuse the shopping bags as garbage bags too. Or at least it has been up till now.

    I, personally, bought a house and found that in the basement there were 10 thousand new plastic bags, in the original manufacturer’s shipping packs. So I won’t run out of garbage bags for a while yet.
    (Also in the house when I bought it, a full wine cellar, 50 unmatched gloves, a 3 year old BMW 530i. Lawn mower. Chainsaw. 190 new fish tanks… It was a good buy.)

    Reply
  35. The thing is at places like Aldi, you usually put your stuff in an aldi bag, take them out for checkout, then pack your own groceries. So, it doesn’t really matter how disorganised your bags are cause you pack your own. The reusable bags come in all shapes and sizes, and it has been a bit akward for our checkout chicks to hook the plastic around the new bag dispensers.

    That being said, I think there will be plenty of profit for the big supermarkets. I always have bags in my car, but most of the time I forget to take them in with me and am required to spend 15 cents a bag.

    Reply
  36. The straw ban here in the US is a moral panic. “We must do SOMETHING to stop oceanic plastics!”

    But where does the vast, vast majority of the waste come from? The US? No… Africa and Asia.

    So, we can pat ourselves on the back for having ‘done something’ – which was inconsequential in the first place.

    Reply
  37. Not sure in norway we uses plastic bags, however they are charged for and pretty durable so tend to be used for garbage afterward. If they stopped using them you would have to buy separate garbage bags anyway eliminating most of the benefits anyway.

    Reply
  38. I agree with the plastic straw ban, as I agree with plastic bag bans and really any single-use plastic that is not necessary. As far as disabled folks are concerned, there are many other materials that straws can be made from, including steel and glass. For those who say they need the straw to be bendy and easy to manipulate, buy your own and carry it around with you so you can re-use it multiple times. There are always solutions if we look for them. Suggesting that continuing to generate plastic garbage is ok becuase it makes things more convenient for you or saves you a few cents is sociopathic and future generations will curse you and wonder how you could have been so selfish when you were fully aware of the consequences of you actions on others.

    Will this ban solve all of our pollution problems? Of course not, but thousand mile journey begin with one step..

    Reply
  39. Hopefully if there is an extra cost, it is more than offset by the improvement in image given the damage caused by plastic bags in our environment. Its certainly improved their image in my mind, although they are years behind Europe.

    Reply
  40. It is absolutely INCREDIBLE that people in the 21st century may be so insensitive to react this way .
    I mean, plastic is trash, we should us it as less as possible and promote recycling and e reuse
    This is not genious thinking but just pure common sense
    If you go to the supermarker, what is the damn point to use everything and everytime a new bag?
    Would not it be better to have your own bag that you reuse every time. Common sense, guys!!

    Reply
  41. It hasn’t (AFAIK) caused “problems” at the checkout, it just slows the process down enough to cost more than the 2 c per bag or whatever that they were hoping to save.
    If I try to make a rough calculation: If the checkout chick is being paid $20/h, then 2 c per bag is only 3.6 seconds. If it takes 4 extra seconds per bag because everyone has a different bag and they aren’t all neatly lined up… then there goes the cost savings.

    Reply
  42. The solution is obvious. Drink beer straight from the bottle, drink spirits from a crystal tumbler, drink tea and coffee from a ceramic cup, drink water straight from the tap, and don’t drink anything else.

    They’ve just banned reusable shopping bags in the big supermarkets in Australia, and I’m slightly mollified by the news that having everyone using their own, non-standard, disorganised bags means that checkouts have become less efficient. So it’s cost the companies MORE money, rather than saving them costs they could greenwash into being a positive change. Serves them right.

    Reply
  43. You don’t have to ban them, just charge for them. Straws for the disabled can be exempt (I imagine its a tiny fraction of the total). I am all for technological solutions but why can’t we do both? You never know until you try whether its actually going to work.

    Reply

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