Going green is definitely the ‘in’ thing to do for businesses in Canada at the moment. The latest is Subway Canada with their new paper straws. Following in the footsteps of Starbucks who is trialling strawless lids, hotels that are removing plastic water bottles and grocery stores Canada-wide who are starting to ban plastic bags, it feels like we could be a step closer to the plastic-free, eco-friendly Canada of our dreams.
However, when Subway Canada announced on Twitter this week that they would be removing plastic straws to make way for a more papery alternative, the announcement didn’t quite go down as expected. In fact, at the time of writing, the post from Subway didn’t have a single positive response to the news.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the Subway Canada official Twitter page posted, “It’s the last straw. We made a big change because we care. You will now start to see our paper straws pop up in our restaurants across Canada!” It was accompanied by a short video that explained paper straws would now be available.
After the tweet was posted, it didn’t take long for Subway to start experiencing a negative reaction. A great number of Canadians who responded took the opportunity to remind Subway that some of their customers required plastic straws to drink, and accused the make-your-own sandwich company of ableism.
One Twitter user responded to say, “I'm disappointed to see you throwing people with disabilities under the bus.”
While another added, “If you cared you would listen to disabled people. Plastic straws are a truly [minuscule] amount of pollution and are a health need for many. This kind of performative bullshit won't amount to any effective change in plastic pollution so stop it.”
This feeling was mirrored by another, who wrote, “Thanks for making sure that disabled people have one less safe, fast, and cheap food option that meets their needs. Performative environmentalism needs to stop harming disabled people who deserve to have access to liquids like anyone else. Hydration is a human right.”
There was also a number of people in the comments who simply don’t seem to like the taste of paper straws, with one user writing, “Paper straws are horrible and the only reason to ban plastic ones is to virtue signal... I will never eat Subway again. You should be ashamed.”
As one Twitter user pointed out, there are many ways to save the planet, without excluding people who rely on certain single-use plastics.
Despite the negative reception so far, Subway Canada has already begun rolling out their paperless straws across the country so you can go and try them for yourself!