Straws

Justin Trudeau Uses 9-Year-Old's Straw Stats To Sell Ban on Single-Use Plastics

A press release announcing the Canadian government's intention to ban straws and other single-use plastics cites a long debunked statistic.

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The movement to ban straws is starting to swallow up whole countries. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that his Liberal government would ban plastic straws and other harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021.

"Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution, and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste," Trudeau said in a press release. "We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come."

Few policy specifics were offered Monday. The government's press release mentions its intention to ban plastic straws, cutlery, and plastic bags, and to work with provincial and territorial governments to develop waste-reducing standards for plastic manufacturers.

Whatever specific action Trudeau's government does take, we're assured, "will be grounded in scientific evidence." But one statistic cited in Monday's press release is less than sound.

In a bullet-pointed list of "quick facts," there's a claim that Canadians throw away close to 57 million plastic straws a day. The same figure popped up in Vancouver, British Columbia's "Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy," published in May 2018. The city banned straws the same month.

A footnote in that report explains that this particular straw stat is derived from U.S. recycling company Ecocycle's estimate of American straw usage, which Ecocycle puts at 500 million straws a day. Assume the same per capita usage among Canadians and adjust for the country's smaller population, and you get 57 million straws a day.

That seems reasonable on the surface. The trouble is that the underlying 500 million figure was the product of a 2011 phone survey of straw manufacturers conducted by Milo Cress, who was then 9 years old.

Professional estimates of American straw usage vary, but they all put the number lower than 500 million straws a day.

The English-speaking world is particularly bad at straw math. Governments in the U.K. and Australia have relied on inaccurate and unsourced statistics on straw usage to justify bans. One could argue that one bad stat or two doesn't actually undermine the broader environmental change Trudeau and company are trying to achieve. But other numbers do.

According to a 2015 study, the U.S. is responsible for about 1 percent of annual marine plastic waste; the vast majority of such waste comes from East Asian countries. Canada's contribution to this admittedly serious problem is smaller still.

Banning plastic straws and plastic bags in the U.S. and particularly Canada will have a negligible effect on the world's oceans. Efforts to combat localized plastic litter, meanwhile, are best left to local governments, who hopefully can find less coercive means of cleaning up beaches and river banks.

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  1. Professional estimates of American straw usage vary, but they all put the number lower than 500 million straws a day.

    Bullshit. I use AT MINIMUM seven plastic straws before lunch. In a country of 325 million people, I have to think I’m the norm.

    And I’m not even forced to drink my milk from an inconvenient vessel like a bag. Imagine what the Canuckistanis are using a day, eh?

    1. Call me a wild man, but don’t we have bigger fish to fry than worrying about the fate of plastic straws?
      Canada might be better off electing a 9-year-old, as long as he/she had a lick of common sense.

  2. It seems as though Canadians will vote Trudeau out in the upcoming fall election so this policy probably won’t be implemented.

    1. Really? I thought he was the Barack Obama of Canada.

      1. Not exactly. He is too left for a good portion of the population, and we have three major parties of which two are liberal meaning that a conservative majority is likely with only 40 percent or so of the popular vote. Not to mention that he hasn’t fulfilled any of his campaign promises and has enacted many unfavorable policies including a big and indefensible carbon tax.

  3. The 9yr old is smarter than Trudeau, so don’t knock him for looking to experts.

    1. I wasn’t sure if the photo for this piece was of Trudeau or the nine year old.

  4. Professional estimates of American straw usage vary, but they all put the number lower than 500 million straws a day.

    497 million a day.

    1. See? We pulled 3 million straws out of the waste stream already!

  5. According to a 2015 study, the U.S. is responsible for about 1 percent of annual marine plastic waste; the vast majority of such waste comes from East Asian countries. Canada’s contribution to this admittedly serious problem is smaller still.

    It would sure be uncomfortable if we found out the waste coming from East Asian countries actually came from the states in the form of shipped recycling.

    1. It would, but the majority of the plastic waste isn’t garbage from anywhere, most of it is commercial fishing gear. About 46% of the plastic waste is just nets, with crates, floats, and buoys making up the majority of the rest

    2. In third world Asian countries, the tradition was/is to toss all waste in their rivers and let it flow to the sea. Once plastic became the norm, they never changed their (filthy) habits. When you see the oceans littered with plastic, 99% of it comes from the surrounding country-side. Stop blaming the worlds problems on the people who do the most to address them. I tend to buck those things I am criticized about

  6. “””Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution, and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste,”””

    No ban on anything plastic will teach them how to use a garbage can.

  7. What a great leader. I may move to Canada if I can escape the clutches of orange hitler.

    1. Odds are you will not qualify for legal immigration status in Canada.

      1. Standards for qualification?
        Illegal aliens don’t need no qualifications. That’s discrimination!
        If 7 billion Earthlings want to migrate to Guam, open the gates and welcome them with free stuff, including Social Security benefits.
        Borders? We don’t need no stinking borders.
        Open Borders for All.

        1. Guam would tip over long before 7 billion people arrived there.

          1. I see what you did there

    2. What’s stopping you? Like every other Leftist RumpSwab, you’re all piss and vinegar and no action. Did you know Canada requires a college degree and $10K, cash-in-hand to migrate there? That is why you won’t qualify

  8. […] Low and behold, before Environment Canada or the PMO were able to respond to our query about the source of their data, it appears to be a wild guesstimate based on nine-year-old information, according to Reason.com. […]

  9. No fascist has ever told the truth about the reason he is nationalizing any aspect of the economy.

    1. Not true. They do it for the people. You know the tagline: Working for you whether you like it or not.

  10. Thankfully the beauteous PM didn’t mention bendy straws so Canadians are safe on that front. Next: those paper napkins that fall apart with just a smidge of catsup on them. Oh, the humanity.

  11. As pathetic as that straw ”research” was, it was more intellectually rigorous than anything the Drama Teacher has accomplished.
    He’s less evil than his father. But being 1/5 as smart is nothing to brag about.

  12. But what about a woman’s right to choose whether or not to use plastic straws?

    Does not her right to choose exist outside of her lady lips?

  13. Does East Asia not know what a landfill is?

    1. Right?

      I guess it mostly comes from a couple of the island nations. It’s just easier to throw it in the pacific apparently…

  14. “Justin Trudeau Uses 9-Year-Old’s Straw Stats To Sell Ban on Single-Use Plastics”

    Trudeau was taught tonrespect his mental elders

  15. A great joke, likely with some regional variants:

    Two Canadians are sitting at a bar, bored. One suggests “Let’s play 20 Questions. I’ll think of something and you have to guess what it is after asking me 20 questions about it.” “Ok,” says the other Canadian. The first thinks for a moment and arrives at “moose cock.” “Ok, I got it, start asking questions” he says.

    The other Canadian asks his first question: “Can you eat it?” The first Canadian, a bit perplexed, replies “Well, yeah, I guess you could eat it.”

    The other Canadian asks “is it moose cock?”

    1. I”m sitting at my desk laughing uncontrollably. The woman just outside my office is looking at me as if I’ve lost my mind. Thanks a lot, jerk. 🙂

    2. LOL

      Literally. I did in fact laugh out loud. Fuckin’ canucks.

  16. Justin Bieber Trudeau has made Canada a punchline. Surely our friends to the north will vote him out soon and let an adult take over.

  17. Ya know, sometimes when I am depressed about how wrong everything is going in America… And I see an article about one of these other fucked up countries… It makes me realize things aren’t quite so bad.

    The entire rest of the world is completely fucked beyond all belief. As screwed up as America is, we still whip ass compared to other so called free countries.

    Also JT is such a homo. Seriously. He looks like such a metrosexual mangina it’s not even funny. People like him make me just want to punch them, despite being a very peaceful guy.

  18. But, we have to do something. Virtue signally may be all that is left?

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