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What Cause Could Possibly Be Awful Enough to Unite Portland, Calvin Harris, and McDonald's?

Another crop of celebrities, cities, and corporations declare war on single-use plastic straws.

James Shaw/Avalon.red/NewscomJames Shaw/Avalon.red/Newscom

Calvin Harris has the temerity to tell you to suck less.

The 34-year-old Scottish DJ and one-time Taylor Swift paramour announced Monday that he is teaming up with luxury hotel and nightclub company Hakkasan Group to fight the scourge that is the single-use plastic straw.

"We want to reduce the impact of harmful plastics, so we decided to take action. I am grateful to Hakkasan Group for supporting us and helping us make a difference," Harris told Variety of his wholly altruistic activism. He then went on to cite the since-debunked statistic that Americans use 500 million straws a day.

Harris' activism is as groundbreaking as his artistic endeavors. In the past few weeks any manner of celebrities, governments, and corporations have teamed up to take on plastic straws.

Earlier in June, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady encouraged people to make the switch to reusable metal straws in an Instagram video. "Next time you see a plastic straw like this, say, 'No, I'm not falling for your ruse, straw,'" instructed Brady.

McDonald's announced Friday that it would be testing out paper straws at select U.S. locations later this year. They've been joined in their corporate activism by Ikea, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and SeaWorld, all of whom have pledged to ditch single-use plastic straws.

And today Portland, Oregon, is expected to pass an anti-straw measure of its own. OregonLive reports that the city council will instruct its Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to come up with a plan to cut back on the Rose City's use of straws and other single-use items by October 1.

The West Coast has led the way with anti-straw policies. Both Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. have banned straws outright, while California cities like Long Beach and San Luis Obispo have taken to passing straw-on-request laws.

Whatever form Portland's straw law takes, it is unlikely to do much good for the environment.

Straws make up a small percentage of America's waste, which itself is responsible for a tiny percentage of the plastic in the world's oceans. The U.S. is responsible for about 1 percent of marine plastic waste.

Experts and environmental researchers stress that tackling the problem of plastic in the oceans begins in places like China, India, and the Philippines, where waste collection systems have yet to catch up to the population's growing use of the stuff.

Celebrities, corporations, and local governments have proven steadfastly resistant to this message, choosing instead to chide Americans for their own unproblematic straw usage. In doing so they manage to bring out the worst in themselves and each other.

Artists, athletes, and actors taking up the fight against straws only encourages politicians to jump on the bandwagon by passing petty bans and restrictions. The prospect of legislation in turn adds a veneer of seriousness to an otherwise vain celebrity environmental crusade. Both groups give corporations moral cover to cut costs and reduce consumer convenience in the name of saving the planet.

The everyday people lining up behind these anti-straw initiatives are suckers of a different kind—they're being misled by celebrities and politicians looking to burnish their own images without actually taking a dent out of the problem they're trying to solve.

Photo Credit: James Shaw/Avalon.red/Newscom

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  • damikesc||

    When we say "You're making us have to care about stupid shit, morons" --- this is what we mean.

    You don't want to use straws? Fine. Don't use them. I do not care.

    Do not dictate to me what I can use, given that I pollute less than any actor out there.

  • Hackmaschine Mutter||

    Somehow its less annoying than the Campaign SJW's used to get donations for menstrual health & sanitation. Visitors were encouraged to donate tampons and pads in exchange for a temporary henna tattoo.

  • sarcasmic||

    The enviros who support this are no doubt leftists, and leftists don't do anything unless everyone else is forced to do it too. That's why every choice of theirs must be a law. It isn't fair for them to do it while others do not.

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    Meow, Britches. ME-OW

  • Shirley Knott||

    I prefer "l'm not falling for your ruse, strawman."

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "Next time you see a plastic straw like this, say, 'No, I'm not falling for your ruse, straw,'" instructed Brady."

    Only someone with the intelligence of an athlete would be worried about trickery from an inanimate plastic object.

    "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, you devious spork!".

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    Come on, man. It was a spork. Those things are tricksy.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Nah, a sport is just a partially deflated fork. Saggy in the middle.
    Oh, maybe that's what confused Brady.

  • spork||

    Yeah, you better watch out.

  • Citizen X||

    Harris' activism is as groundbreaking as his artistic endeavors.

    Shots fired!

  • NashTiger||

    We need more Central American straws

  • ||

    Come on! We're just asking for common sense straw laws! By common sense, we mean ban them!

    You have to be a special kind of ignoramus to jump on this moronic fad.

  • some guy||

    Or a special kind of opportunist. Plenty of those out there as well.

  • ||

    Straws are not the problem,

    The little pink umbrellas on exotic drinks are! Do you realize what those things to do our oceans? Never mind the potential for being used as a weapon!

    BAN PINK UMBRELLAS!

  • some guy||

    My pink umbrellas are made from recycled plastic straws. They're doubly devilish.

  • ||

    other single-use items

    I'm not gonna lie, I can't wait to mandate that multi-use condoms be handed out by PP.

  • Longtobefree||

    Great idea! Use once, turn inside out, use again!
    Brilliant!

  • Rat on a train||

    They better be machine washable.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The folks who object to swapping paper straws for plastic straws at fast fooderies are likely the same people (or, at least, the same caliber of people) who objected to the switches to lead-free paint, seatbelts, unleaded gasoline, child car seats, creationism-free schools, and anesthesia.

  • Pepe Le Pew was a sex offender||

    So you're saying you support pointless virtue signaling.

  • ||

    So you're saying you support pointless virtue signaling.

    I'm not even clear on the virtue here. This is more "Old man yells at cloud." signalling except as reality rather than satire.

  • Sevo||

    "So you're saying you support pointless virtue signaling."

    Pretty sure you've just defined our annoying asshole.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    We all know that Kirkland's nasty disposition is the direct result of his bitter disappointment with the lack of durability and poor rigidity of paper dildos.

  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed||

    Your obsession with lead explains a lot about your posts, but in your defense, your mother didn't know it would hurt you, so try to stop being so bitter about it.

  • Citizen X||

    She told him it was "wall candy."

  • Brandybuck||

    Straws banned. Milkshakes hardest hit.

  • Tony||

    Why would you date Taylor Swift? Either you're going where every pretty it-boy on earth has gone before, or you're going nowhere but on a playdate with a sexless toddler in a woman's body. I'm not sure which it is.

  • Longtobefree||

    What difference, at this point, does it make?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Why? To get a song written about you?

  • Longtobefree||

    McDonald's announced Friday that it would be testing out paper straws at select U.S. locations later this year.

    We did that already. It was called the fifties. Nobody liked it very much. Lots of leaks, and wastage from damage during transit. We switched to plastic for a reason.

  • Sevo||

    Longtobefree|6.20.18 @ 1:16PM|#
    "McDonald's announced Friday that it would be testing out paper straws at select U.S. locations later this year."

    I predict an actual, you know, *REAL* study will show up soon and prove beyond doubt that the paper straws are worse for the environment than the plastic ones, just as happened when Micky Ds had to switch to paper 'burger boxes.
    And, like that one, the watermelons will ignore it and continue to congratulate each other on being soooo 'green'; witness the annoying asshole, above.

  • sarcasmic||

    I remember when the grocery stores switched from paper bags to plastic bags to save the trees.

  • Sevo||

    And then switched back again to save the syn-trees!

  • Rat on a train||

    Do you know how many artificial Christmas trees must be cut down so you can have your plastic straws?

  • Brandybuck||

    Now they've switched back to paper but slapped a tax on them.

  • damikesc||

    McDonald's sure is getting more and more woke.

    Shame their food is still unmitigated shit. I refuse to let my kids eat there.

  • Bubba Jones||

    "I don't use plastic straws because I don't know how to throw away my own trash."

  • markm23||

    LOL. I know that the plastic items I use go into a trash can. If they're floating out to sea, don't blame the plastic, blame the garbage collectors that dumped them - but those are unionized government workers, so obviously we can't blame them...

  • Bubba Jones||

    I hate paper straws. They feel weird.

  • albo||

    Stop putting them up your butt!

  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed||

    So, I am well aware that we have tree farms for paper, but many envriowackos aren't so I expect more caterwauling about that, and metal straws are unsanitary unless cleaned properly, so there's another campaign waiting in the wings. God dammit I hate these people sometimes.

  • Rich||

    Once upon a time pull tabs actually detached from the can. The Earth was covered with carelessly-discarded pull tabs. Then cans were engineered so that the tabs stayed attached when opened. So, obviously the solution is to require the plastic straw to be an integral part of the beverage container.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Sippy cups for grown-ups.

  • Rich||

    Hinge the lid onto the cup and now you're talking.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Once upon a time pull tabs actually detached from the can. The Earth was covered with carelessly-discarded pull tabs. Then cans were engineered so that the tabs stayed attached when opened.

    The can't-handle-change, close-minded malcontents whined about that one, too.

  • Brandybuck||

    Remember my uncle trying to figure out how to open his Coors can. Took them a few years to figure out a way to do that wouldn't lacerate the customers' fingers. Meanwhile the pull tabs only ever lacerated those stupid enough not to wear thick soled shoes...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I am buying straws in bulk just to have so I can drop them in bundles on lefty's yards.

    What suckers.

  • albo||

    We're drowning in plastic straws and bags, people! Can't you see it?

    Just drive your 6-cylinder SUV all around the block and you'll see all the pollution these plastic menaces are causing!

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Make no mistake: the plastic straw bans are the thin edge of the edge.

    Consumers pushed back when they tried to ban plastic bags (directly or via a tax), so environmental activists are advocating a ban on product that nobody other than TetraPak cares too much about.

    But it won't end with straws.

  • aistamn||

    Good god, why would anybody listen to the environmental nut jobs in Portland? The latest news demonstrates they can't even follow their own green policies; evidenced by the amounts of "recycling" that has to be send to the landfill. Their ridiculous food recycling has been a massive failure and the local transit authority's idea to ease congestion is to start tolling the roads (while building more bike lanes and pedestrian crossings).

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    What about the little plastic straws for coffee? The small ones in your scotch? Aren't these as equally insulting to the environment? These absolutely must be included in any ban. For Gaia's sake, of course.

  • cc2||

    So I get a soft drink to go in my car, but am not allowed to have a straw. How the hell can I drink it without making a mess? Or even walking down the street with a drink--without a lid so I can sip it I spill it all over as I walk. Do these people even live in this universe?

  • Tionico||

    Yeah, 500 Mn straws a day is a farce.. as is the oft quoted 14Bn tonnes of plastic FLOATING in the oceans. Both are the result of deliberate hucksterism.

    Should we reduce the use of a lot of disposable plastics? Of course.

    How's aobut starting with those stupid .75 to 1 litre plastic bottles people buy by the truckload full of "spring water"? THAT plastic is not easily broken down, like the polyethylene used in the straws, or the grovery store "Tee shirt " bags. Those break down to almost nothing in a year or so, where the PETE used in the water bottles will persist for decades.

    Or how about the hard shell packaging for so may items sold at retail, including produce? Same plastic as the infernal water bottles.

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