By: Nicholas Koski, Columnist
At the beginning of the fall 2018 semester, some of the dining facilities on campus decided to say “so long” to plastic straws due to recent environmental concerns. But on Feb. 26, the SGA voted on a resolution to reimplement straws in all Towson University dining facilities.
Despite that straws are still offered with certain drinks and to students with disabilities, the resolution was proposed in response to student complaints about the overall removal of straws. However, other environmentally conscious students saw this resolution as a step backward.
Although the straws being implemented (called “PLA straws”) were promoted as being compostable and made from renewable resources, some students voiced their concerns during the SGA meeting that implementing these straws in dining facilities is still not the best option.
Since PLA straws will only break down under certain conditions at special facilities, the majority that are carelessly thrown out with other trash just end up in landfills and waterways causing the same harm as plastic straws to wildlife, our ecosystem, and ultimately ourselves.
Paper straws are one better option when it comes to compostability, but not so much when it comes to usability. PLA straws would, then, be best for the people who really need a straw, but not for widespread implementation.
A day before the vote on the resolution, there was an online survey sent out by the SGA to gauge student opinion on the issue. Strangely though, the only options on the survey were ‘paper’ or ‘plastic’—no option for ‘neither,’ or ‘only in special cases’. As a result, about 217 of the roughly 330 students who voted picked plastic over paper. Another 199 said they felt ‘inconvenienced’ by the lack of straws.
A separate student petition was created to vote against any reimplementation of straws on campus and gathered over 250 signatures before the SGA’s vote. Nevertheless, the vote was made and straws are supposedly coming back.
No exact date was set by the SGA for the reimplementation of straws. They did note, however, that Susquehanna dining hall had already begun providing PLA straws for all drinks before their vote. As for other dining facilities, we will have to wait to see whether they continue to say “so long” to straws for the sake of the planet.