In order to save the planet they now want to eliminate something that does not exist.
Restaurants have made them increasingly difficult to come by, politicians have built careers demonizing them, and Starbucks tried to make news by banning them in their stores. (They cleverly opted for a plastic sippy cup lid, that uses more plastic.) In the past few years plastic straws have become this generation’s acid rain, as they choke our landfills, kill our oceans, and lead to loss of consortium and even lower test scores in students (probably?) Now they need to be eliminated from your text messages, lest you add to the…uh…to the problem of…contamination of ourr desktop recycle bins, I suppose???
The announcement arrives from an anti-straw environmental organization — as if that is really a thing. No, wait – it is actually a thing. They are called Lonely Whale, and they are an oceans-focused environmental group working to end plastics from reaching the seas. They have teamed up with rum producer Bacardi to send a letter to the world’s coding experts to encourage them to remove the plastic straws from any cocktail-themed emojis. Yes, this is a fact; that is something they are endeavoring to accomplish
Per their “Cease and de-sip Letter” (I swear, that is how they present this):
Bacardi and Lonely Whale launched “The Future Doesn’t Suck”, with the mission to remove one billion single-use plastic straws by 2020. And we think if humans are going to get used to the idea of using less plastic straws, they should use less emoji straws, too. Help us create a future that doesn’t suck and request the deletion of all emoji straws.
So, we will ban emoji straws and therefore the straws that do not exist, and therefore do not end up in the oceans, will now no longer end up in the oceans…still. Well, I sure hope those coders take this to heart and understand all of the environmental impact they have not been responsible for with their nonexistent straws not polluting the planet!
The hysterical conservationist outrage over plastic straws has been beyond ridiculous — it is downright idiotic. The outlandish claims being made about the supposed environmental impact of these cylindrical inhalation devices is not just overblown, it is rooted in garbage science. Most environmental straw-based reports declare Americans use 500 million plastic straws daily. It can be a staggering statistic, and it grabs your attention — and it is completely asinine to repeat.
But let us first apply the stated goal of Lonely Whale/ Bacardi here. They want to eliminate 1 billion straws by 2020. Using the bloated scare-number we have been provided, this amounts to one day’s amount of national straw usage per year. So if they reach their goals they will have curtailed the amount of plastic by 0.364% in 2 years. The amount they will have removed by banning straws in emojis cannot be measured — as that number is zero.
But this daily usage statistic is the real piece of garbage, and that is because this number does not derive from sober scientific studies nor peer reviewed analytical data points. The number should be tossed out the window of a moving vehicle — because it was made up by an elementary school student’s science project. A 9 year old student, named Milo Cress, in 2011, called up some straw manufacturers and they provided him with distribution figures and the like. He divided these deeply imprecise shipping numbers by 365, and then declared that we use half-a-billion extruded tubular drinking aids every day.
Environmentalists love a fat, round number to scare people with, and the press was incurious when presented with such a stark factoid. Soon enough adolescent Milo’s best guess became “settled science”. After all, who is going to question the New York Times, and National Geographic on such matters? Pay no mind that neither august publication felt the need to question the statistic themselves.
This is when science and the scientific method get tossed overboard, like so many reams of plastic straws, as they allege. The way this becomes entrenched, this statistic is useful to the environmental cause so there is no motivation whatsoever for those pimping out the message to correct the unverifiable figures. When asked about the actual detailed numbers of straws Eco-Cycle — a Colorado-based recycling nonprofit, was not too concerned with correcting the record. They felt it was aa perfectly sound statistic. (I am certain this has little to do with the fact that Eco-Cycle has actually teamed with Milo Cress on his now global campaign against the demonized fluid transference devices.)
When queried about the 500 million straws per day figure Eco-Cycle communications director Harlin Savage stated that it could in fact be a low-end estimate. She then dodged the request for the accurate amount, instead stating that if anyone else has a better figure many groups like her own would love to see it. So a 9 year old serves as the head researcher, and declaring that there is no better figure to go by serves as the “proof” behind their claims. Saying, “there is no one else making the estimate, so we’ll stick with this” is quite the opposite of scientific research.
The ocean trash piles is also another frequently used indicator of the nefarious nature of the plastic straw. Look at the wording from Lonely Whale — they declare of the hundreds of millions of straws used daily “most of them” end up in the oceans. How, is the questiion here? The vast majority end up in the garbage, and then landfills. Who is pouring millions of plastic straws into the ocean on a daily basis?!?!
It is not America. Studies have been made of the origins of the refuse found in the oceans, and the United States comes in far down of the list of guilty parties, contributing in the neighborhood of less than 1% of the trash. Next, the amount of straws contributing to that trash pile in the ocean has actually been measured out to be about 0.02 percent of the amount of plastic waste that is estimated to go into the ocean each year.
So allow me to do some math that is a slightly higher level than that of 9 year old Milo — no offense meant to the prepubescent researcher. Bacardi / Lonely Whale intends to curtail about one third of one percent of the straws America uses, which is a nearly immeasurable infinitesimal amount of the scant one percent of the pollution America produces in the oceans, of which only two one hundredths was even plastic straws to begin with. If every – single – intention of this project goes off as 100% successful…nobody would be able to notice in any fashion whatsoever.
All I can say about the efforts here and their goals — well, they suck.