Look, the guy cracks me up and I won’t apologize for it. Case in point, the Trump campaign is selling a 10-pack of recyclable plastic straws, laser-engraved with the word “TRUMP” because, as the campaign tells it, “liberal paper straws don’t work.”
Liberal paper straws don’t work.
STAND WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP and buy your pack of recyclable straws today!https://t.co/nanyEFK938
— Team Trump (@TeamTrump) July 18, 2019
I don’t have to agree with every policy position to find that hilarious. Especially since it’s caused publications like VICE to get in their feelings about it and write pieces about the inferior quality, the only “theoretical” recyclability, and the (guffaw) market attractiveness of said straws.
First, plastic straws, like much of the plastic people throw away, are really only recyclable in theory. In practice, they’re too small and flimsy, and there’s not much of a market for the type of plastic they’re made from — thus the many ongoing campaigns to get people to stop using them.
But the president’s straws are touted as a way to “STAND WITH TRUMP” — unlike those flimsy straws, which couldn’t even stand up if they wanted to.
Bon Appetit wrote a piece a few years back, before the plastic straw environmentalism really took hold, and described in perfect detail what drinking through those mushy little paper tubes the “good guys” use was like in practice.
Somewhere along the journey of evolution we thought paper straws—you know those pink candy-cane-striped ones you buy in overpriced packs of six—were a great way to sip a gin and tonic. But no, they are not. In approximately 47 seconds, your straw begins to get soggier than a Huggies in a kiddie pool. Maybe you pause even longer to photograph it on a table with succulents, hand-lettered signs, and bowls of spiced peanuts. Now your straw has slowly begun to disintegrate into the cocktail (the drink the couple had at that dive bar where they had their first date), and what is that familiar note you’re getting? Ah yes, it tastes like a standardized test. Paper you chewed on as a dare but kind of liked. Gin was not meant to be consumed this way.
“Tastes like a standardized test” is just good writing.
In any event, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that paper isn’t actually better for the environment because it doesn’t necessarily reduce pollution, as California (the source of most of this kind of nonsense any more. Like the dark cloud “source” in Stranger Things) has discovered. Furthermore, most of the plastic straw litter doesn’t come from us.
To address the problems caused by plastic pollution, it’s better to target its improper disposal than plastic itself. Most of the plastic waste in the oceans comes from countries that don’t have good systems for putting trash in landfills. Around 90% of the plastic in the oceans comes from just 10 rivers: eight are in Asia and two are in Africa. So banning plastic here in America will have little measurable effect on pollution worldwide.
And so the straw debate continues, leading us inevitably toward innovation in plastics production, which is a very good thing and something the Trump campaign attempts to be trying to celebrate.
But not without a bit of a jab at liberals. Wish they could see the humor in it.