Trend to ban plastic straws leaves Metro Detroit's disabled community concerned

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 23:26:12-04

Starbucks and cities across the U.S. are making big waves by announcing plans to ban plastic straws all in an effort to minimize waste and help protect aquatic life.

But is there a downside for the disabled community that's being overlooked? Michael Krausman, who suffered from a stroke two years ago, says straws are more of a life-line than just an added convenience. 

"One of the things that the stroke caused that I deal with every day is the shaking," he said. 

The shaking is so bad that he has to depend on a straw to drink all his beverages. 

"If people are around and I’m afraid I’m gonna spill or knock something over then I just lean over and do it rather than try to pick up a glass. I’ve spilled a lot of drinks, and it’s embarrassing," Krausman said. 

Krausman is just one of many in Metro Detroit’s disabled community- with limited motor skills -  worried about the anti-straw trend sweeping cities across the country

This month, Seattle became the first major city to ban plastic straws. Starbucks says they’re ditching them by 2020. McDonalds is exploring how soon they can phase them out. And here in Metro Detroit, many dine-in restaurants are providing straws, only on request. 

Reacting on Facebook, one Metro Detroiter downplayed the change saying “we live in a world where you can purchase washable, reusable, bendable straws.” 

But one mother balked back, saying...“My son has cerebral palsy...these people who suggest paper or reusable straws do not understand. Paper are too flexible and will not give adequate strength and reusable straws are very hard to sanitize.”

Disability advocates also say straw options like metal or bamboo are too hard for those that rely on the flexibility.