Friday, July 13, 2018

1969 Straws in the Wind

This is a Starbucks.  It was photographed from the doorway of another Starbucks across the street and a little off to the left.  Renting space for the second one was a minor disappointment.  The goal is to have one directly across the street from another.

That has happened in New York and probably elsewhere.

To get to the point, Starbucks has decided to end its romance with plastic straws. This is laudable. Here at the Wessays (™) Secret Mountain Laboratory, we are working with new materials that will not pollute the oceans or landfills and last for 4,000 years.

So far, we have worked with

--Natural sponge.  This will not pollute.  But as soon as you dip the straw in a drink, half the contents of the glass or cup disappears.  That is impractical.

--Paper.  This is biodegradable. But it degrades in cola.  So you have to coat it with either plastic or wax and that’s just as bad as all-plastic and much more expensive to produce.

--Aluminum.  Works okay and can be washed and reused.  But expensive.  And people likely would throw them away anyway.

--Ice.  Probably the most ecologically sound substance of them all.  But it melts in your mouth, is uncomfortable to use and breaks easily.

So maybe finding a new material isn’t the best answer. Maybe it’s the container we should think about.  Some examples:

--A mini pitcher. This could get messy.  And messy means Starbucks would have to reimburse dry cleaning costs when you spill your drink on your shirt.

--A metal canteen.  Not a bad Idea, but not especially practical if you’re used to tossing the cup and the straw you’ve taken outside and walked around with it for a while.  

--An intravenous bag.  Well, they’re all made of plastic and that would be worse than dumping all those straws into a landfill. Plus what’s the fun or refreshment of “drinking” something by sticking a needle in your arm?

--An udder.  Rubber or other reusable material. Some drawbacks.  Not the least of which is sterilizing them after use. Those autoclaves are expensive.  

Whatever they decide to do will affect the entire food-to-go industry.  But the paper straw has been around since 1888.  It worked then -- without a coating -- and it works now.

--The big shot industrial designer Raymond Lowey created the exterior of Air Force One for JFK and never sent a bill.  Now the current president thinks the look is not “American enough” and wants something flashier, says Axios news.  The replacement planes won’t be ready for years because of the alterations required for a president’s aircraft, so unless he’s re-elected in 2020, trump won’t ever fly in the horror of red, white and blue he’s demanding.

-Elon musk is the next donald trump and therefore we no longer will capitalize his name.

-If some foreign leader landed here and pulled the same boorish nonsense as did our president at both the NATO meeting and in England, we’d throw him or her onto the next plane home.

-The cave rescue was a thrilling and beautiful story, but enough, already.

-The police of Columbus, Ohio have discovered that it may not have been worthwhile to send four detectives to a strip club to arrest Stormy Daniels because she allowed a patron to touch her … but maybe they should return, just to make sure.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2018

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