Science & Tech

Activists Are Actually Trying to Get Rid of Straw Emojis Now

The hysteria surrounding plastic straws is overblown.

Just when you thought that the anti-straw crusade couldn’t possibly get more ridiculous, there is now a push to remove straws from emojis.

Yes — emojis.

Bacardi and the anti-straw activist group (yes — that’s a thing) Lonely Whale have launched a campaign calling on Unicode to remove straws from all emojis of drinks.

“Together they aim to raise awareness of the cause further by encouraging unicode to remove their plastic straws from emojis,” states a release for the campaign. “To join this global campaign, visit”

But it doesn’t stop there. Bacardi also released a “cease and de-sip” letter — “written” by “Sydney the Sea Turtle” — to the Unicode Consortium, demanding that the “Tropical Drink” and “Cup with Straw” emojis be done away with.

“Listen, big fan of the diverse ocean life representation in emojis — but we need to talk,” the letter stated. “The thing is, everyone below sea level thinks you guys suck.”

“I’m sure you know that in America alone, millions of single-use plastic straws are used every day and most of those end up in my backyard,” it continued. “Outside of the fact that they’re taking up valuable real estate down here, they are also — quite literally — killing us.”

As I’ve written before, the hysteria surrounding plastic straws is mostly overblown. After all, straws make up only 0.02 percent of the plastic waste that is estimated to go into the ocean each year — and the United States is responsible for only about 1 percent of the total amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean overall.

What’s more, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the number of emoji plastic straws that wind up in the ocean is precisely zero. Why? Because — and this may blow your mind here — emoji straws are not actual straws. That’s right: There is absolutely no chance of even a single emoji straw ever harming a plastic sea turtle, so it’s actually completely and totally safe for those emojis to continue to exist. Oh, and who’s to say that the straws in those emojis are even plastic, anyway? Maybe those emojis are actually depicting those nice little paper straws, the ones that get soggy and disintegrate in your mouth so you can enjoy some nice little paper chunks along with your iced coffee. It’s impossible to know for sure, but what I do know is that we probably have some slightly more serious problems going on in the world than a straw emoji — and that these people’s activism could probably be put to more productive use.

This story previously appeared in an article in Reason.

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