Pflugradt: This is the last straw


A good way to accept hardship is to “suck it up.” But without a straw, how will you do that?

The outcry over unnecessary plastics has brought a wave of changes. Dillon’s is phasing out plastic bags. Cities have placed bans on unnecessary plastics — nixing the straw almost altogether. Starbucks is pulling straws. McDonald’s will replace plastic straws with paper straws.

In the name of combating plastic pollution in the ocean, several countries have placed bans on single-use products. In the U.S., an exorbitant amount of the focus is on the plastic straw.

None of this culture change hit home for me until Friday night when the Old Chicago waitress would only pass out straws on request — reflective of the company’s updated policy.

I support the motions to cut down on unnecessary plastics. I try not to be wasteful; I’ve cut out plastic water bottles, and I don’t use a plastic bag if I can avoid it. But I grew up in the era of straws.

As mundane as they might be, straws are a necessity for a nice meal out.

The pressure of speaking out in the minority and asking for a straw in front of a large group sucks. I’m not that needy, am I?

Too many thoughts raced through my head — and ultimately, I passed on a straw.

Tuesday morning, I discovered the Rhatigan Student Center pulled back their extensive supply of plastic forks and spoons between the microwaves. That supply is now only available at the registers of Pizza Hut, Panda Express, and Freddy’s.

My daily quest of enjoying a cup of strawberry applesauce now involves a suspiciously odd encounter with the Freddy’s cashier who will watch as I stockpile a four-day supply of spoons — awkward. Sure, I could try and keep a utensil in my backpack, but I can’t say I trust myself not to lose the utensil after a week.

This culture change is happening far too quickly. These unnecessary plastics are still necessary for me.