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Opinion: One idea to cut down on straws: Drink beer instead of soda

Environmental groups say that up to 500 million plastic beverage straws are used every day in the United States,
Environmental groups say that up to 500 million plastic beverage straws are used every day in the United States,
(Hellen Sergeyeva / TNS)

To the editor: The first thing in the Los Angeles Times’ editorial that caught my eye was the 500 million straws allegedly discarded by Americans per day. I’m sure conservationists’ hearts are in the right place, but that equals two straws for every man, woman and child in the country per day. That seems high. (“Half a billion plastic straws are used and discarded every day. What an unacceptable waste,” editorial, Jan. 16)

But there is a problem with straws, and I have a partial solution: Require every establishment that sells food to also sell beer. Many people would prefer to have their burger or burrito with a beer rather than a soft drink, if only it were available.

The merchants would benefit from the higher prices, the legislators would get to pass a law, and it’s a good bet none of those customers would request straws. It’s a win-win solution.

Art Klimeck, San Pedro

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To the editor: I have occasionally thought about researching the question of when the pernicious practice of putting straws in water glasses began in L.A. restaurants, and why.

When a server brings a glass of water to me that has a plastic cylinder protruding, I always put the straw to the side as unneeded, unwarranted and unwelcome. Finally, I have the support of a major metropolitan newspaper.

Andrew Rubin, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Remember paper straws? So let’s stop using and manufacturing plastic straws, and return to paper straws.

There may be environmental issues with the manufacture of paper straws — certainly there are issues with the production of plastic straws — but at least paper straws will disintegrate in the environment faster than the plastic ones.

Jan Rasmussen, Lakewood

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