A jar like glass with a pink liquid, pink and green straws and lemons placed on the rime on the glass. It has a white flower at the side and it's on a wooden styled picnic table with a spot light on the drink the background is a dark blue blur with patches of white and green light.
Disability Rights

How the Straw Ban Effects Me

I wanted to talk about the straw situation because it’s something that’s relevant and is affecting the disabled society today however only people who use straws are aware of this situation. Many people who don’t rely on straws aren’t aware of the importance of a plastic straw. I know this first hand as when I was discussing the disabled culture during a seminar at university and talking about how banning straws is affecting the disabled culture, I got a lot of blank faces. But when I discussed this situation, I realised that the blank faces weren’t due to them being stubborn it was due to the fact they didn’t have any understanding and as I was explaining this issue, I could see a lot of faces changing.

I do use straws a lot due to my disability and the ban on plastic straws is affecting me. But it’s not just the ban of plastic straws in restaurants that’s frustrating it’s the lack of understanding and how straws are talked about like they’re some decoration in your cocktail when in fact they provide much more! Therefore, I feel like they only way that people will become aware of this issue is to talk about it and to carry on talking about it. I’ve read a lot of articles regarding this issue and I do think that by sharing experiences and opinions we will get somewhere. However, when this was first mentioned, and straws were shown on TV saying how irrelevant they were I will never forget the lack of consideration I felt as a disabled individual.   I’m all for helping the environment and I know something needs to be done about the amount of plastic waste, but I don’t think using the blanket technique will work.  If I didn’t rely on straws, I’d have no issue and I’d easily stop using plastic straws, but with my needs, it’s just not that simple.

I have purchased some silicone straws and I have started using them because you don’t know unless you try, and I get this however there are some straws that I don’t want to use. For example, mental straws have been recommended but I’m cautious to use them, this is because due to my cerebral palsy I grind my teeth and as a result of this I have to wear a soft retainer at night as my teeth are more worn than they should be for someone of my age. Therefore, I don’t want to use mental straws as my movements are very jerky due to ataxic features so I’m avoiding using mental straws because I don’t my teeth to be affected anymore after having an operation and wearing braces for 20 months.  Paper straws also do not work for myself as they disintegrate and whenever I use paper straws, I have to use 2 or 3 just for 1 drink due to the fact that I saliva more than others. So, therefore, I feel like I’m doing more damage to the environment as if I was to use paper straws, I would be using more of them than I would plastic.

My silicone straw is good, and I do feel that for now, this is the best alternative for myself however I’m still not as happy silicone straws as I am using plastic. This is because cleaning the straws is proving quite difficult for myself as I struggle with fine motor skills and the task of the cleaning the straws definitely requires fine motor skills and I just know it won’t be much longer before I break the brush and will be ordering another one.  Not only this remembering to take a straw out with me is yet another factor that I must incorporate into my daily life! This may not seem a big issue, but hasn’t a disabled individual already got, enough needs and vulnerabilities to worry about?

Thank you for reading,

Georgia Vine

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