Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Seattle becomes first to ban drinking straws

Seattle becomes first to ban drinking straws

Starting in July, Seattle banned restaurants from providing plastic utensils or straws to customers.

Other cities, such as Miami Beach, Florida; Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, and several municipalities in California including Oakland and Berkeley, have all banned the use of disposable plastic straws, but not utensils.

Neither are plastic utensils in the latest push to reduce waste and prevent marine plastic pollution.

A ban went into effect Sunday outlawing those particular straws and utensils at "all food service businesses, including restaurants, grocery stores, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, and institutional cafeterias".

Businesses that don't comply may face a fine of up to $250, but city officials say they will work with businesses to make the changes. 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.

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The Seattle ban actually began with an ordinance prohibiting one-time-use food service items in 2008, but the city has allowed exemptions on certain items every year since. The city then required that compostable or recyclable food service items, including plastic straws and utensils, be used beginning in 2010.

According to the Strawless Ocean campaign, straws can ruin loads of recycling because majority aren't heavy enough to make it through industrial recycling sorters.

Americans are said to use 500 million straws per day, according to National Park Service estimates.

New York City and Los Angeles are said to be considering a similar ban on non-compostable straws and utensils.

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

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