Gadgets 1: Reusable Drinking Straw

Rubber drinking straw

This is a collapsible, reusable, and portable drinking straw, one that you can bring with you, and that will replace all plastic straws (Final Straw n.d.a and n.d.b). As the company names implies, it will be the last straw you ever need and use. The idea is commendable, to say the least. Each year we use – and throw away – millions of plastic drinking straws that add substantially to the burgeoning amount of waste that we produce annually. It is a small item, to be sure, but millions of them do add up.

The problem with this invention is, however, the same as with other ideas: Technology is often miles ahead of culture and people. Put differently, the cultural lag in adapting to, and adopting, new technology, not to mention the time it takes (which is the essence of the term "cultural lag") is rather more difficult and complex – and that is an understatement – to address than inventing new technology.

In this specific case I admit that I do not give this idea much chance of surviving, that is, in replacing plastic straws. The practical issue that they have to be cleaned is just one obstacle. We are, I am afraid, creatures of habit, and to an often extreme degree. And here is perhaps the real issue: Before someone "invented" plastic straws, we did the only natural thing, we put the bottle, glass, or container, to our mouths, and, well, simply drank the stuff. Do we really need straws, plastic, disposable ones and collapsible, reusable ones?

The only thing that might save this gadget is a massive media-campaign that will convince us consumers about its merits. One video alone will not, I am afraid, make much difference. Then again, it would be preferable to make a massive media-campaign aimed at weaning people from using disposable plastic straws altogether.

Lars T Soeftestad

(1) This comment is based on a post on Facebook in June 2018.
(2) Image credit: Final Straw (see Sources)
(3) Permalink. URL:
(4) This article was published 28 June 2018.

Final Straw. n.d.a. URL: (accessed June 2018.)
Final Straw. n.d.b. URL: (accessed June 2018.)

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