Straws

Oops! San Francisco Bubble Tea Company Throws Support Behind Straw Ban Without Realizing It Also Bans All Feasible Replacement Straws

Reading the fine print is important.

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Makidotvn/Dreamstime.com

As businesses race to be the latest to abandon plastic straws, there are bound to be a few slip ups. Witness Boba Guys—a San Francisco-based boba tea chain—which threw its support behind the city's soon-to-be passed straw ban without realizing that the prohibition would also outlaw all viable replacement straws.

Unlike a lot of drinks, whose consumption is simply made more convenient with the addition of a straw, boba tea actually requires one. How else are you going to extract all those tapioca pearls at the bottom of the cup that give the beverage its name?

For this reason, boba tea shop owners have been leading the opposition to straw bans in places like Vancouver, British Columbia, where tea shop owners have said that the city's ban, passed in May, would be the death of their businesses.

Boba Guys decided to go the opposite direction and wholeheartedly endorsed San Francisco's proposed ban. In May, City Supervisor Katy Tang unveiled her new straw ban legislation at a press conference held at a Boba Guys store and with Boba Guys co-founder Bin Chen in attendance.

"We see this as a huge opportunity to lead the way on making sustainable business decisions," said Bin, as he and assembled city officials sipped the company's popular drinks using paper straws.

If only Chen had read the fine print.

Following the press conference, Boba Guys started hunting for replacement straws, eventually settling on ones made of polylactic acid (PLA), a kind of bioplastic derived from corn starch.

These straws are financially and functionally inferior to their traditional plastic brethren. They cost six times as much, fall apart in high heat (a problem for shipping overseas), and become brittle and unusable after 16 months of storage. Some bloggers have raised concerns about their effect on people with food allergies.

PLA straws do have environmental advantages. Because they're made from corn, they are compostable. Because they aren't derived from petroleum-based products, they reportedly break down faster in natural environments and are less toxic when they do.

For this reason, both Seattle's active straw ban and a proposed one in New York City (where Boba Guys has a location) exempt PLA straws. Unbeknownst to Boba Guys, however, San Francisco's pending ban does not.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, when Boba Guys co-founder Andrew Chau called up city hall to relay the good news that the company had snagged replacement PLA plastic straws, he was told those too would not work out. To make matters worse, the Chronicle reports, there are currently no commercially available alternatives for Boba Guys.

The company Aardvark does make suitable paper straws, but it reportedly has a huge backlog and will not be able to supply Boba Guys with straws in time. Two other potential alternatives, including one made of a seaweed plastic, are in the works, but neither will be ready in the quantities needed by Boba Guys (or the city's other boba merchants) by the time San Francisco's ban goes into effect in July 2019.

Judging by comments made by staff from San Francisco's Department of the Environment, no one has any intention of amending the city's straw ban to give the boba tea community a break. City officials instead have promised to gently roll out enforcement to give these companies breathing room.

The Boba Guys, for their part, have continued to support the city's impending ban, while stressing the need for nuance in thinking about ways to prohibit straws.

Of course, had the company wanted an appropriately nuanced approach to reducing its plastic consumption it could have adopted voluntary and feasible strawless policies. Instead it opted to endorse a government-imposed straw ban without doing its due diligence.

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  1. This is not a very nuanced article, Britschgi. If that is your real name.

    1. I mean no chance Christian Britishguy is a psuedoname. Too obvious.

    2. Thanks, Britches. Now I am craving taro boba tea.

  2. wow. Banning plastic straws, I’m glad the government of San Francisco has solved every single problem ahead of that.

    1. Most be a utopia with no crime, clean streets and no regulatory enforcement issues to add a frivolous item of this nature to the docket.

    2. Not just plastic straws, even the biodegradable straws, which solve the original problem. I think the real reason is because straws look like gun barrels, so they are bad.

      1. Close; they look like cigarets!

        1. Cigarette guns. They shoot smoke at high velocity.

          Cigarette guns dont kill people, the Tobacco companies do.

      2. Can’t be because they think they’re penises – else they’d be mandated.

    3. I rarely go to SF, usually just for a ballgame. People literally shit in the streets and shoot up in plain sight, and the cops to nothing. But fucking hell if I want a plastic straw.

      What a literal Shithole. And people pay 5,6,7k a month for the privilege of living in it

      1. Well the addicts are victims, and the bums are just open-air composting – you on the other hand are destroying the planet!! ;P

      2. San Francisco residents: You can recycle used heroin syringes to use as bubble tea straws. Just snip off the pointy ends of two syringes (careful!) and fuse them together with a crack torch (borrow one from the guy next door). Ta da! An environmentally friendly reuse-recycle bubble tea straw. Once you’re done with it, just leave it in the park for someone else to use.

    4. Idle, everybody knows that plastic straws are a gateway to shitting all over the place and leaving heroin needles hither and yon.

    5. From what I’ve read the government of San Francisco IS every single problem ahead of that.

      *snort*

      What a passel of Progressive Lefty Twerps!

    6. If they just pull the needle ends off all the syringes lying around the place, and rinse them off, they can just use those to enjoy their beverages.
      I just solved two of their problems – SF owes me consultation fees.

      1. A tapioca bubble has as much chance of passing through a syringe neeedle as a rich man has od entering the kingdom of heaven, or something like that.

      2. LOL! You made my day with your comments!

    7. Not going far enough.

      SF needs to ban plastic entirely.

      You thought CARB made it hard on manfacturers to sell cars in CA due to emissions rules? Just wait until they’re forced to try and manufacture cars without any plastic at all.

  3. Live by the straw, die by the straw.

  4. Don’t get me wrong. I do like the inherent “fuck you” to the perpetually hungry around the world that America keeps searching for new non-food ways to use corn, but how many trees are we going to sacrifice to make sipping woke?

    1. That’s okay, we’ll just replace our biofuels with more windfarms.

      1. Or replace our windfuels with biofarms.

    2. Kill a tree. Save a skier.

      1. Too late!!!

        1. LOL!!!

      2. Thinking of Sonny Bono, I have to protest this proposed plan to harvest our heroic, vigilante, ski slope trees for paper straws.

    3. Trees used for paper, and for that matter, paper straws, are farm raised. The trees grown mature for harvest in about 7 years and are replanted in the same plot of land. So until you start losing sleep over killing soybean plants, you should probably give the “killing a tree” thing a rest.

      1. They should really leaf it alone.

        1. They are barking up the wrong tree.

          1. Deaths always come in trees.

            1. You all need to branch out.

              1. I had to log in to say I wood if I could, but I got board.

                1. LOL!!! You guys are all cracking me up! I would love to meet some of these commenters as you sound like a fun bunch to hang out with. Any of you live in Arizona?

      2. Read the article again. Corn-based. In other words, the replacement straws are part of the whole biofuels fiasco. Globally, we are diverting massive investments in land and productivity from food production to oil-replacement. In the process, we are driving up food costs and increasing global hunger at the margins. And when you add up the lifecycle costs of the process (including all the fertilizers, transportation, processing, etc), we’re doing it using a process that actually consumes more petrochemicals than it replaces!

        1. If you want to eliminate all petrochemical and biofuels to save the planet, then we can go back to living naked in the trees, eating raw meat, and throwing poop at each other. Maybe that sounds great to you and the people of SF but I will pass.

          1. I dont think the throwing the poop at each other part was really eve mandatory.

            1. And yet San Francisco culture has already openly adopted the poop thing, and adopted the living naked thing many years past. Ironically, if there is a deal-breaker here, it will be the meat-eating.

        2. Some years ago, when I was living in the DC suburbs, I was summoned to the front door by a couple of sweet teenies who wanted me to sign a petition for The Sierra Club. I told them “Boy, have YOU got the wrong house!” but they second-efforted me, explaining how the Sieraa Clubs was concerned about this and that environmental issue.

          “Girls”, I said, “You don’t understand. I firmly believe that the vast majority of environmental issues in this country could be solved by taking the Board Members of the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and half a dozen other bunches of twerps, soak them in gasoline, and apply a match.”

          They ran like surprised mice.

          1. When I lived in the DC suburbs, it was a Moonie girl (yes, I’m that old.) I was supine under my car trying to get something fixed before I lost daylight; she latched on to me and just wouldn’t go away, no matter how often I said I wasn’t interested. Finally I told her, “You know, from down here, I have such an interesting view straight up your skirt.” Success.

      3. Apparently someone hasn’t seen Ax Men on the History Channel.

      4. Let’s have a straw poll . . .

      5. It’s amazing what happens when the private sector owns the land from which natural resources are harvested.

      6. That’s going to be the main plank in my stump speech.

  5. Also wtf is boba tea?

    1. It’s a weird concoction of usually milky tea with flavorings and little balls of tapioca in it. I find it not terribly appealing.

      1. Zebulon doesn’t enjoy anything with an IBU rating of less than 50.

      2. sort of how she described her last blowjob…

      3. Tapioca? I thought they were mouse turds.

    2. An overhyped intergalactic bounty hunter who ended up dying an unceremonious death who was also a hip-hop artist-turned-actor.

      1. Definitely overhyped. I never understood the fanboy obsession with him.

    3. You just outed yourself as a total square.

    4. Frisco is the capital of kneel and boba. Boba tea is when the sack is included with the straw.

      1. +1 Andrew Dice Clay

  6. “San Francisco Bubble Tea Company Throws Support Behind Straw Ban Without Realizing It Also Bans All Feasible Replacement Straws”

    Proving, once again, that you don’t need to be awake to be woke.

    1. Get woke, go broke.

  7. Ummm…….gentle enforcement .

    1. Cardinal Fang – fetch…the comfy chair!

    2. They only anally rape you half to death instead of completely dead.

      1. Well, they need you to live so they can rape you again later!

        1. why must it be alive to ass rape it?

          1. Because you can’t rape something that’s not alive. Being alive is a prerequisite for being raped. Otherwise, you’re just being fucked.

            You can’t rape a car, but you can fuck a car. You can’t rape a corpse…

  8. “Some bloggers have raised concerns about their effect on people with food allergies”

    and what have those experts said in regards to its use in vaccines?

  9. Boba tea owners have been leading the opposition to straw bans in places like Vancouver, British Columbia, where tea shop owners have said that the city’s ban, passed in May, would be the death of their businesses.

    Boba Guys decided to go the opposite direction and wholeheartedly endorsed San Francisco’s proposed ban.

    Virtue signaling one’s wokeness is more important than running a profitable business, or reading the proposed legislation, apparently. Sucks for them, but I can’t help but feel a rush of schadenfreude at the thought of idiots being hoisted by their own retard.

    On a related note, what the fuck is “Boba tea?” Tea made from water filtered through Boba Fett’s pubes? Doesn’t sound very appetizing to me.

    1. On a related note, what the fuck is “Boba tea?” Tea made from water filtered through Boba Fett’s pubes? Doesn’t sound very appetizing to me.

      You just made me spit up my coffee from laughing-thanks!

  10. Wind. Whirlwind.

    Welcome to the revolution.

  11. Sucks for them, but I can’t help but feel a rush of schadenfreude at the thought of idiots being hoisted by their own retard.

    Every time a company tries to please the progtards with some do-gooder action, they end up getting eaten because it will never be enough. You think they would have learned by now that its better to tell them to go fuck off

  12. Maybe places should just start saying drinking straws are sex toys. Don’t think SF will ever ban those

  13. “Comrades if you would please just line up over here against this wall…we greatly appreciate your assistance in getting us to this point…”

  14. Ban dihydrogen monoxide!!!!
    Except for me, I need it cause I use purified dihydrogen monoxide, you don’t.

    1. I buy the bottled type. Better for you.

  15. Nuance: a word used to describe vague, contradictory explanations of an original belief or idea that turned out to be false or incorrect.

    I have a couple relatives that have spent most of their lives working in government or government funded NGOs. They’re big on nuance.

  16. Ha ha. Serves the fuckers right.

  17. As usual when the government gets involved the Law of Unintended Consequences rears it’s ugly head.

  18. The cornstarch-based straws may be compostable in theory but in reality, they’re going to be landfilled. And that means they will be essentially mummified no matter what they’re made out of.

    “Nuance” should include looking at actual facts. And none of the anti-straw “facts” stand up to even the most cursory scrutiny.

  19. PLA is also not very comfortable. It’s brittle and painful when it fractures.

  20. It’s always nice to see the government willing to bend its force into inconveniencing or downright harming individuals in order to accomplish practically nothing based on phony numbers produced by a third grader.

    I can’t find the words for what is happening. It’s attacking a problem that isn’t really a problem, and it’s using solutions that don’t actually make things better.

    1. feel good BS always trumps (no pun intended) actual policy change that brings about actual improvement. places like SF have done themselves in with what looks like 12-15 years of virtue signaling. hopefully when it collapses we can use this once beautiful city as an object lesson in the pitfalls of do-goodery

      1. Feh. That’s like using England as an object lesson in the pitfalls of gun control, or the Soviets and Venezuela as an object lesson in the pitfalls of socialism. The lessons are there, all right, and they’re irrefutable — but people who operate on brains instead of feelz rarely need the object lesson in the first place, and the rest simply don’t have any language in common with you, can’t comprehend anything you’re saying, and are distracted by the first shiny Ocasio-Cortez who offers them free s*t.

    2. I have no words. It is surreal. Beyond absurd. How to describe what is happening?

    3. There are plenty of appropriate words. Domination. Bullying. Tyranny. Totalitarianism.

  21. I have never seen a better case for the get woke go broke meme.

  22. I don’t particularly like tea, tiny tapioca testicles or not so I don’t know, but would there still be a point to bubble tea without a straw? That seems like it would just end up with a bunch of balls in my face again, which isn’t really my cup of tea.

  23. San Francisco has a problem with human feces on the streets but instead of addressing that, they are banning straws. A+ work!

    1. Low hanging fruit. They can’t fix the first problem, because it’d cost them too many votes, but they can ban a commonly used eating utensil.

  24. Sit at your favorite coffee shop or fast food or even sit-down resaurant for 15 minutes and if you don’t see someone handling the cups by the rim I’ll be surprised.
    Straws are necessary for public health, but I don’t think they should be mandatory.
    If you want to reduce waste, get rid of the gloves. Food handlers appear to think they’re meant to keep their hands clean and have been known to scratch their heads, make change, grab a mop, and more, wearing them before handling food. Watch them grab the faucet or refrigerator handle and realize that buckets of used gloves help no one. Straws actually work to reduce exposure to germs (if wrapped).

  25. Doesn’t this ban have a disparate impact on San Francisco’s Asian population?

  26. This is virtue signalling without even any virtue. I take my soda in the car–how can I drink it without a straw?
    And all based on a 9th grade girl’s science project…

  27. Hi, I was wondering your opinion on this video that I found last year. NEW DISCOVERY-The Ancient Sunken City Of Cape Town And The 65 Mile Long Mile Wide Wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHIlyecDwhQ It can be found on Googlemaps or googleearth, zoom in at Latitude: 33?33’58.40″S Longitude: 17? 1’47.81″E Neuswabenland – New Antarctic Discoveries and The Battle of LA in 1942 – 1433 Shots Fired https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSXqo0A9EM8 Pt. 1 – NEW CLUES – The Zodiac Killers Last Letter and Map – “The Map,You,Fall” “He’s a Park Ranger” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9OJ1XdKklA Mediterranean Discoveries – Heracleion – Thonis Have Some Friends https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6iFkbePmYI The Black Hole Son – Stephen Hawking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTtdKl0ePGc Banned Worldwide on YouTube – Regulators Lets Dance – Shootouts – https://vimeo.com/253888114 Banned Worldwide – Iraq/Syria Graphic War Footage 18+ https://vimeo.com/253900326 Thank you. if you watch n if you like it please share these gems. Thanks.?

  28. I’ve said it before, but I predict that it will be a thing to carry your own reusable straw with you whenever you go out to eat.

  29. Almost all plastic pollution comes from rivers running through communist/socialist countries in Asia and Africa.

    Articles cite this in plastic-bag equivalents, but it isn’t plastic bags. I guess that huge amounts of garbage is dumped, and the plastic floats downstream.

    https://www.treehugger.com/ocean-conservation/
    these-10-rivers-appear-be-source-millions-tons-
    ocean-plastic.html

    1. I keep wondering whether it would be possible to put a net across the mouth of the river, mostly on the surface, to skim the plastic out.

      Of course, that would make travelling on the river difficult, so it’s probably not going to happen.

  30. Is this the jump shark moment?

  31. The straws used for boba teas are essentially plastic tubes. They’re usually thicker than regular straws and have a pointed end that can puncture the thin plastic cover on top of the cup.

    There’s a lot of sugar, acid, and gelatinous goo (boba, jelly, pudding, bits of fruit) in these drinks. I never tried alternative straws in my life but I doubt that some paper straw can last submerged inside them for a long period of time. People don’t take out their straws when they put drinks inside their fridge. What would happen to organic straws if you leave it inside the drink for hours?

    Asians hail from collectivist states and are reliable statists in this country. But as consumers they’ll more likely to hunt for locations not affected by plastic straw bans. Our people have haggling imprinted on our DNA. That’s probably what scares some Boba tea store owners. Even in LA the clientele for these businesses is around 80-90% Asian, and straight up Taiwanese joints are even more Asian. You start losing your core customers to locations 10 min outside city limits and your business will suffer.

    It’s stupid rule that arguably affects minority owned businesses more than the “native”s. The Styrofoam ban and soda taxes in some cities died because they were effectively racist. But SF exists in a universe all its own, the Asians in the local government are batcrap insane. Leland Yee operated out of that place.

  32. The straws used for boba teas are essentially plastic tubes. They’re usually thicker than regular straws and have a pointed end that can puncture the thin plastic cover on top of the cup.

    There’s a lot of sugar, acid, and gelatinous goo (boba, jelly, pudding, bits of fruit) in these drinks. I never tried alternative straws in my life but I doubt that some paper straw can last submerged inside them for a long period of time. People don’t take out their straws when they put drinks inside their fridge. What would happen to organic straws if you leave it inside the drink for hours?

    Asians hail from collectivist states and are reliable statists in this country. But as consumers they’ll more likely to hunt for locations not affected by plastic straw bans. Our people have haggling imprinted on our DNA. That’s probably what scares some Boba tea store owners. Even in LA the clientele for these businesses is around 80-90% Asian, and straight up Taiwanese joints are even more Asian. You start losing your core customers to locations 10 min outside city limits and your business will suffer.

    It’s stupid rule that arguably affects minority owned businesses more than the “native”s. The Styrofoam ban and soda taxes in some cities died because they were effectively racist. But SF exists in a universe all its own, the Asians in the local government are batcrap insane. Leland Yee operated out of that place.

  33. I will hand out free plastic straws in the communist city of San Francisco.

    Come and arrest me commie fuckers !!!!

    1. I’ve thought the same thing. Interesting the law applies only to food service workers who hand them. I’m going to Costco and buy big huge boxes of them and hand them out. As a non food service worker I’ll just be doing a public service. 😉

  34. Those who want government intervention get bit in the butt. I like it.

    Much like Alcoa that supported tariffs only to find out it applied to Canada also and the tariffs intended to help aluminum producers is hurting them because of their Canadian business.

    Those that support statism getting burned by it is better than any article trying to educate them.

  35. This article pegs my schadenfreude meter.

  36. Oh the irony of San Francisco banning the sucking of protein drinks out of tubes.

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