Monday, 16 July, 2018

Seattle Becomes Latest City To Ban Plastic Straws, Utensils

Seattle plastic straw utensil ban takes effect Getty images
Ginger Lawrence | 09 July, 2018, 15:57

San Francisco & Berkeley are among the Bay Area cities considering a ban on plastic straws.

As the threats posed by plastic straws, utensils and other small plastic items have become clearer, environmental groups have made a broad push for cities to curtail their use through legislation.

Seattle's 5,000 restaurants will now have to use reusable or compostable utensils, straws and cocktail picks, though the city is encouraging businesses to consider not providing straws altogether or switch to paper rather than compostable plastic straws.

Seattle Public Utilities says a 2008 ordinance has phased out various plastic products from the food industry.

Restaurants were encouraged to use up existing supplies of plastic straws and utensils before July.

The single-use plastics ban is said to be part of the city's efforts to limit waste and prevent petroleum-based plastics from getting mixed in with compost or polluting marine waters.

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Restaurants that do not comply with Seattle's regulations could face a $250 fine.

The National Park Service estimates 500 million straws are used by Americans each day. For example, Styrofoam food packaging was banned in 2009, according to the Seattle Times. Maybe you've seen that video of the sea turtle with a plastic straw lodged in its nostril, or read about the whale that died after eating a plastic DVD case.

Moscrip said that he converted his restaurant over to compostable products in 2015 anyway, because it was 'the right thing to do.' These days, environmentally friendly straws and utensils are only about 10 per cent more expensive than the alternative.

California's Legislature is considering statewide restrictions, but not an outright ban, on single-use plastic straws.

Bon Appétit Management Company became the first US food service company earlier this year to ban single-use plastic straws in its eateries, according to Greenpeace.