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Twitter can’t agree on Starbucks’ straw ban

Twitter users argue over environmental protection and disability rights after Starbucks reveals its plan to ban plastic straws from their coffee shops by 2020.

Starbucks sign from a shop in downtown Pittsburg. The company will be ridding plastic straws from worldwide locations by 2020.
Starbucks sign from a shop in downtown Pittsburg. The company will be ridding plastic straws from worldwide locations by 2020.Read moreGene J. Puskar

When Starbucks launched a global initiative to remove plastic straws from stores by 2020 on Monday, Twitter reacted. And people had a lot to say.

The initiative, which will begin in Seattle — home of Starbucks' first store — and in Vancouver, is part of Starbucks' $10 million commitment to develop a fully recyclable and compostable global cup and will replace plastic straws with a newly designed recyclable "strawless lid."

>>READ MORE: Starbucks bans plastic straws.

Seattle banned plastic straws as of July 1, prohibiting food-service businesses from serving plastic utensils, straws, or cocktail picks. Both Starbucks and Seattle are permitting "compliant straws," made from materials such as compostable paper, upon request.

The ban stems from a larger environmental effort headlined by the Lonely Whale, which advocates for a "strawless ocean," and encourages activists to rally on Twitter with the hashtag #stopsucking. The movement pays particular attention to the harm that discarded straws and utensils cause to marine life. This graphic video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nostril went viral in 2015, causing many environmental activists to take action.

In light of the recent decisions, Twitter users have been taking to social media with the hashtags #stopsucking #strawban, #skipthestraw, and #refusethestraw, among others. However, not all users are hashtagging in support.

Some praised the efforts as a small step that could make a huge difference, tweeting phrases that eluded to the size of the problem and what they believed was a small solution.

And others seemed even more energized to get their morning coffee.

And there were those who suggested that the challenge wasn't all that challenging, after all.

But not all Twitter users agreed with these tweets — or the ban that inspired them. Some complained about the inconvenience of the ban, expressing the difficulty of cleaning reusable straws and the unappetizing "sogginess" of paper straws or saw it as another in-your-face trend that was about to get seriously annoying.

Others brought up a valid point (and different ethical argument). That straws — specifically plastic straws — were necessary for many people with disabilities.

This thread suggested that the straw ban discriminated against those with disabilities and that the green movement was wrongly trumping a basic human right.

And this user tweeted about a personal need for a plastic straw.

Others mentioned the shortcomings of plastic-straw alternatives.

And, of course, there were those who just wanted the best for everybody.