Isn’t it interesting how many different voices tell you to do this, or change that, and then as uncomfortable as it may seem, you try and see things from their point of view. But at the end of the day, you know that quibbling over who should stop doing what, or even losing friendships over these unnecessary debates is frankly, quite pointless. I’m not implying that the desired outcome is pointless, but that the quibble is. Whether it be to go vegan (animals are friends, not food!) or to quit using plastic straws (save the turtles!) or anything else, really, it’s often an annoying vocal minority demanding that things be shaken up.
I don’t have vegan friends (anymore) because I’m really not that big a fan of vegan food and I hate having to feel guilty for liking meat apparently more than I should.
As for straws, I’ve actually bought quite a few metal and glass straws. When a friend of a friend commented on Facebook about her frustrations regarding KFC’s decision not to provide straws anymore, I sent her some even though I’ve never even met her before. Even after spending all that money on glass and metal straws, do I use them all the time? NO! It’s really quite troublesome bringing them around (especially when you’re out for a jog), cleaning them (with a special brush) and storing them well (dry and not in danger of the glass breaking).
On 6th September, I was having breakfast at KFC when I noticed this interesting sign saying “this KFC restaurant will no longer serve plastic straws” and lo and behold, there’s a straw dispenser that’s about three-quarters filled with straws right below that sign…
Either the sign is redundant or the straw dispenser is. Can KFC please pick one?
The point I am trying to make is that change takes time, and hopefully everyone realizes that the change they want to see may not happen in this lifetime, or even in their children’s lifetime, but it may happen two to three generations down the road. What is most important now is not this debate (which simply drives the wedge further, and make people more upset about what they think they are losing), but education and awareness.
Firstly, acknowledge that the status quo is such, for a good reason.
When having iced milo with my KFC breakfast (that’s the only beverage I’ll have at fast food outlets in the morning – habits die hard), I use the straw to stir it up so there isn’t a layer of water from the melting ice cubes at the top but with the milo concentrated near the bottom.
Having straws removed all of a sudden will definitely get people upset. It’s a no-brainer. What do you want me to stir the milo with? My fingers?! 😀 Haha! Actually I used the plastic spoon meant for the porridge but it’s just awkward. Also, parents let young kids drink from the cups using straws, so as to avoid accidental spillage.
Will I resort to getting a straw from some other restaurant or food court if KFC doesn’t give me one? I might, if I have sensitive teeth. Will I go so far as to buy plastic straws for use? I hope not. But I do know of people who will buy plastic bags for their trash if supermarkets stop providing them free-of-charge. 😉
People get to vote.
I’ll hazard a guess that KFC put straws back in its restaurants (at least this one I went to) because customers got upset, threatened to bring their business elsewhere, and essentially decided to vote with their wallets.
Can any business afford to upset its customers this way?
People will vote to show their satisfaction or their displeasure. And if the majority is displeased, it would be wise not to anger them further.
Repeat after me. Education and awareness. Education and awareness.
What’s the main agenda? And how committed are leaders to it?
LOTS of businesses will jump on the zero waste bandwagon simply because there’s the potential of huge cost savings. KFC’s press release said that not providing plastic straws and also plastic caps for drinks (bought for dining-in) would lead to a “reduction of 17.8 metric tonnes of single-use plastics in a year”. How much $$ does that translate into, assuming KFC successfully stops providing these plastic disposables from now on?
While KFC had made it known that they won’t be serving straws starting from 20th June, now the straws are already back. Leaders are unable to commit because of point (2). Supermarkets won’t stop providing plastic bags either, for this same reason.
Unless the will of the people at the top is strong enough, the outcome will simply be to bow to the pressure of the (majority of the) people.
So this quibble over straw or no straw is pointless, no?
I won’t tell you to stop using plastic straws, and I’ll definitely not try and make you feel guilty for using one. But if you want to get rid of plastic straws in our country, I’d like to see you put a reusable straw in the hands of every man, woman and child first.