Starbucks recently said it will stop using plastic straws at its stores for environmental reasons.
But for some in the disabled community, the coffee giant’s decision may be misguided.
At Ability KC, speech therapist Allison Tapko uses straws to help teach people to take a drink when they need one.
“An individual going to a coffee shop, whether it be Starbucks or whomever, and they don’t have straws are they going to be able to drink the coffee?” Tapko said.
Starbucks said it wants to eliminate more than 1 billion straws per year to cut down on waste.
But people in the special needs community, who don’t view plastic straws as a luxury, say they want to be involved in that decision.
They say other types of straws, such as paper or pasta, may not work due to choking hazards or other problems.
“Individuals with a disability, they may not always have the option of going green,” Tapko said.
In a statement, Starbucks said customers are still able to get straws, made from alternative materials, and that the company will work with the disabled community to ensure their needs are met going forward.
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