A Brief History of Drinking TubesWhile plastic straws are a recent invention, humans have been using hollow, cylindrical tubes to bring liquid to their lips for centuries. The Booming Plastic IndustryAmericans were still embracing paper straws when plastic manufacturing began to take hold. The Baltimore-based company produced a wide variety of plastic items and soon became one of the country’s largest producers of plastic straws. Environmental groups, however, say plastic straw bans are an important step toward their ultimate goal: ending the circulation of single-use plastic. “There’s no getting around that a paper straw will cost about a penny more than a plastic straw,” he says.