Friday, September 28, 2018

Paper Straws

Paper Straw
I know this is a political hot potato right now, but I'd like to add my two-cents on paper straws versus plastic straws.

I HATE paper straws.

When I was in Maryland last weekend (more here), I was served a drink (water) with a paper straw. At another place, they also had only paper straws so I went without.

A little background. When I was a kid, 50 to 45 years ago about, there were only paper straws. We didn't know any better. I remember one specific incident when I was drinking a milkshake and the straw collapsed in on itself, cutting off any ability to drink the shake through the straw.

Then plastic straws came out and the world got better.

In Maryland, this is what I re-learned about paper straws: they dissolve in liquid. The part that goes into your mouth gets mushy fast. The part that sits in the drink, gets mushy just as rapidly. My straw started bending at the air-liquid interface. If you don't drink your drink quickly, your straw becomes nearly useless. Plus, I swear there was a taste to the paper straw as it fell apart. It has to be held together with some sort of glue. I hope the glue isn't toxic. (Probably to make a paper straw not dissolve in water, you'd have to use a powerful yet toxic glue, I'm guessing.)

There's this stuff called "wet strength" that papermakers put in cardboard to make it survive contact with water. But I bet it's not FDA approved for putting in paper straws, and probably for good reason. If we're going to all switch to paper straws, we need an FDA-approved wet strength agent.

And when I got more water, I got another paper straw. It did the same as the first.

So I hate paper straws. I hope this anti-plastic-straw fad goes away soon or someone invents a better paper straw.

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