Plastic Straw Bans Grow After Seattle Takes the Lead

Plastic Straw Bans Grow After Seattle Takes the Lead

Plastic Straw Bans Grow After Seattle Takes the Lead

Both McDonalds and Starbucks announced they were doing away with plastic straws, new European Union rules announced you'd have to start buying reusable cups for your coffee, while Westport announced they'd become the first plastic straw-free town in Ireland.

"Plastic pollution is surpassing crisis levels in the world's oceans, and I'm proud Seattle is leading the way and setting an example for the nation by enacting a plastic straw ban", said Seattle Public Utilities General Manager Mami Hara.

- A California coastal city has become the latest municipality to ban plastic straws, enacting what is potentially the strictest plastic prohibition in the country. This change could cut down its plastic use by 80 percent.

As reported by Newsweek, up until today, Seattle became the first major USA city to ban plastic straws in July, and the maximum fine there is just $250 (€215). "But the second time a purveyor of plastic straws defies the ban is when the heavy hand of the law could clamp down", writes Fox News.

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Food and products made outside the City of Santa Barbara, but sold within city limits, would also be exempt from the ordinance. The problem? Most of these single-use straws are too lightweight to be recognized by a mechanical recycling sorter causing them to be disposed as garbage, which makes it more likely for them to end up in the ocean. At the rate we're using straws, there is estimated to be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050, according to a report by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation.

Additionally, updates to this ordinance would include exemptions in consideration of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But none have raised the specter of jail time for straw scofflaws before Santa Barbara. Banning straws means we can't drink in restaurants. The loss of plastic bags, plastic bottles, and stirrers is something that most people will be able to get around and learn how to adjust.

What's happening in San Francisco? From there, the company will also work on eliminating polystyrene cups as well.

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