Basing public policy on research from a 9-year-old

Becket Adams explains for the Washington Examiner the thorough research Seattle employed before banning plastic drinking straws.

Seattle has made it official: It is now the first major U.S. city to ban plastic drinking straws.

As it turns out, the law, which includes a fine of $250 for all violators, is based largely on the unofficial research of a nine-year-old boy.

Probably not the best basis for sound legislation, but what do I know? …

… [T]here’s the question of just how many straws are being thrown out every day in the U.S. The simple answer is: No one actually has a solid number on that, despite this claim that it’s 500 million per day, implying that every man, woman and child in the U.S. drinks on average more than one drink with a straw per day.

The Post report leans heavily on a group called Strawless Ocean, which claims “we use over 500 million every day in America.” Strawless Ocean links this figure back to a separate group called Eco-Cycle. …

… This is where the story gets wild. Eco-Cycle told Reason magazine in January that it doesn’t actually have hard data to back this number. It has instead been relying on “the research of one Milo Cress….Cress — whose Be Straw Free Campaign is hosted on Eco-Cycle’s website — tells Reason that he arrived at the 500 million straws a day figure from phone surveys he conducted of straw manufacturers in 2011, when he was just 9 years old,” Reason reported.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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