Little did Marvin Stone know when he invented the paper drinking straw in the late 19th century that in 2012 there would be a “War on Straws.” This war isn’t actually on his paper drinking straw but on all of those plastic straws that you get from the fast food restaurants. You know the red ones and the striped one; the one that are not recyclable. The flexible straw was invented in the 1930s by Joseph Friedman, after seeing his young daughter strain to drink a milkshake out of a tall glass. This innovation was helpful to patients unable to drink from a cup and those who had previously used straws made from glass. The glass straws required sterilization and broke frequently, posing all sorts of problems. The plastic drinking straw was invented in 1951 with its inventor no doubt completely in the dark about the plastic waste heap his invention would contribute to.
So what’s the answer as summer approaches as we all grab a cold drink?? Go back to the paper straws of yesteryear or you can go full circle with a reusable drinking straw made of glass, or maybe just the decline the straw, especially if you take it “just in case.”
By Debby Winters