How do you think about straw bans

Leadership: American Airlines just announced a bold change that other companies can't bring themselves - 2021

Starbucks says they will. (But not completely until 2020.)

McDonald's does it. (But only in the UK and now in Seattle.)

So you will forgive me if I am surprised American Airlines is facing this matter.

The matter? Plastic straws.

Yesterday the US government announced that by the end of this month they will be "removing plastic straws from their lounges and serving drinks with a biodegradable, environmentally friendly straw and wooden stir stick instead."

American isn't actually the first US airline to do this. That credit appears to go to Alaska Airlines, which announced in May that it would replace all plastic straws and citrus picks.

Last year Alaska spent 22 million of these little plastic trinkets, so it's a pretty big step. But Americans are much bigger than Alaska, so they may have more influence.

That leads me to the question, if airlines can make the switch, why can't fast food chains do it just as quickly?

Starbucks said this week they would be replacing straws with plastic cups.

And McDonald's passed a proposal in the US just to investigate the plastic straw issue in May, even though it's banned in some areas around the world, including the UK.

After all, a ban in the US seems inevitable. As Vox explains:

Straws are far from our biggest problem when it comes to ocean plastic pollution, but of all single-use plastics, they seem the easiest to let go of (except for people with certain disabilities who cannot drink without a mug). And activists hope that straws will be a "gateway plastic" that will encourage people to forego other single-use plastics like bags and bottles.

Straw bans won't save the sea, but they could spark much-needed discussions about the levels of non-biodegradable waste in them.

For Americans, it seems comparatively easy - and if you make the change, you get some good PR with it. It's also 71,000 pounds of plastic that customers don't use and throw away, meaning the airline has to use more than 35 tons less fuel to fly through the air.

"We are very excited and proud to share this initiative with our team members and customers," said Jill Surdek, American Airlines vice president, flight service. "We are aware of our impact on the environment and we continue to work to preserve the planet for future generations of travelers."

I think every little bit counts.

What do you think? Do you miss plastic straws when they're gone? Let us know in the comments.