NORMAL, Ill. — The recent crackdown on plastic straws across the U.S. has led to a surge in 3D printed drinking paraphernalia, according to a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission.
“Bootleg straws are poised to become the largest public emergency of the summer, with one out of every four Americans purchasing beverage transport materials within the last month,” said FTC spokesperson Ginet Gulati. “Movie theaters and music festivals, in particular, have seen a sizable amount of traffic — evident from the clusters of dealers offering strawless customers sweet, controlled, liquid relief… albeit from a source of dubious legality.”
For many, the straw ban is a severe hindrance to completing even the most basic and necessary daily tasks.
“I’ve spilled an iced caramel macchiato on myself six times this week already. I honestly don’t know what we’re gaining from this,” lamented Devin Stone, 25-year-old performance art major at Illinois State University. “These politicians don’t seem to realize how hard it is to update your Instagram story while driving if you can’t see over the lid of a drink. 3D printed straws are literally saving my life.”
Indeed, the recent regulations have caused many previously responsible straw users to take measures into their own hands.
“For my grandpa, who has Parkinson’s, his whole world opened up now that straws are readily available again,” said Bloomington resident Shelby Fedderman. “But, I’ll be honest — it’s hard for me to stand in line on a dirty street corner with a bunch of coffee drinking hipsters and un-enviro-conscious douchebags when I just need my grandfather to be able to drink a glass of water without accidentally waterboarding himself.”
Not everyone, however, is supportive of the availability of straws.
“Honestly, [3D printed straws] are a scourge on our community,” said local EMT and self-appointed straw expert Brady Sheffield. “They conform to absolutely no regulations, and the designs will be sold to just about anybody with an Internet connection. Not only that, many of them are structurally unsound. I’ve had to respond to multiple choking calls in the last couple of days alone.”
At press time, Congress officially banned blueprints for 3D printed straws; however, experts worry it may have little effect, as the thin tube design of the straws is “not that hard to figure out.”