Canadian anti-straw movement should consider people with disabilities

Anti-straw movement should consider people with disabilities, advocates say

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press 
Published Tuesday, April 24, 2018 12:12PM EDT 
Last Updated Tuesday, April 24, 2018 12:39PM EDT

TORONTO — Some Canadians who rely on plastic straws are calling on the surging anti-straw movement to consider the impact it could have on people with disabilities.

The outcry comes as global momentum to ban plastic straws builds with British Prime Minister Theresa May vowing to eliminate plastic straws and develop more sustainable alternatives.

Closer to home, an increasing number of Canadian businesses are limiting straw use, with dozens of bars and restaurants in Toronto taking part in a one-day campaign to limit use this past weekend.

Miriam Osborne blasts the campaign as ableist for failing to take into account anyone who depends on straws because of physical limitations.  

The 35-year-old Toronto resident has a disability called arthrogryposis, which affects the muscles in her limbs and prevents her from being able to hold a cup.

“I understand that my use of straws is not enough to keep things status quo, but straws are just a tiny fraction of the plastic,” Osborne says, of the broader push to reduce plastic waste.

“To me, it’s just lame liberal activism that in the end is nothing. We’re really kind of vilifying people who need straws or forgetting about them completely — let’s be honest — in encouraging shaming people who are asking for them.”

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