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News & Topics in Our Community

The Right Straws Provide Access for People with Disabilities and Reduce Environmental Waste

February 11, 2019

Photo of colorful plastic straws(SACRAMENTO, CALIF.) – With support from Monterey Bay Aquarium and Central Coast Center for Independent Living, The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)’s program, the Disability Organizing (DO) Network conducted the nation’s first study on the Disability community’s experiences with alternative straws, especially non-plastic straws.
Local advocates conducted user experience tests across the state and discovered that people with disabilities who need straws for eating and/or drinking have nuanced and diverse needs.
The study found that best alternatives for people with disabilities are (1) bendable, compostable plastic straws and (2) BPA-free bendable straws– both types need to be at least 8.25 inches long.
 “Having access to straws (historically plastic straws) allows people with disabilities can access independence, community integration and public life,” said Allie Cannington, Statewide Community Organizer at CFILC.
Although people with disabilities seek straws that are flexible, lightweight, durable for re-use and different temperatures, they want to find ways to reduce waste and conserve the environment.
“We’re grateful for the Disability community’s commitment to protecting our ocean and marine life from plastic pollution—in ways that work for them,” said Barbara Meister, public affairs director for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “This report, and its findings, illustrate that all of us have a role to play in ocean conservation, and in ensuring access for all people. Through open dialogue and collaboration, we can advance both goals together.” 
“We are stronger together,” said Cannington. Californians do not have to choose between providing access to people with disabilities and reducing harm to the environment.”
Find more details on the Statewide Alternative Straw Research and Report and tips on Bridging Disability Access & Environmental Conservation are available at the Disability Organizing website:

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About the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)
The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) registered 501(c)(3) non-profit Corporation that increases access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers throughout California. To learn more, please visit:

About the Disability Organizing (DO) Network
The Disability Organizing (DO) Network mobilizes California’s Disability community and allies to change systems for greater access, independence and equity for people with disabilities locally, statewide and nationally. The DOnetwork advances this work through community organizing, advocacy, education, leadership development and coalition building. The DOnetwork is a project of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, funded by the Department of rehabilitation and the State Independent Living Council’s State Plan for Independent Living.
To learn more, please visit:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, February 11, 2019
Contact: Kyla Aquino Irving, (916) 325-1690 Ext. 304

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Welcome to the Disability Organizing Network (DOnetwork) website! The DOnetwork calls to action the California Disability Communities and allies, through community organizing, advocacy, education, leadership development and coalition building to effect systems change in local, state and national issues.

The CFILC Disability Organizing Network is a statewide disability advocacy network of 28 Independent Living Centers and the communities they serve. In each center there is a full time staff person devoted to increasing civic participation through community organizing, education and advocacy around issues that affect the Disability Communities.