Seattle just experienced the last straw…So if you use a plastic straw or plastic utensil in the Northwest city now, you better get ready to pay a fine.
On Sunday, a ban in the city went into effect that outlaws plastic straws and utensils at “all food service businesses, including restaurants, grocery stores, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, and institutional cafeterias.”
If you are caught using them, violators will be subject to a $250 fine.
Businesses have the option of using straws and utensils made from more environmentally friendly materials such as paper, steel and bamboo. Still, the city suggests that businesses provide those only upon request.
“It’s taking a stand on plastic pollution,” Kate Melges of environmental organization Greenpeace told a CNN affiliate. “And really taking a stand on what needs to happen, a ban on all single-use plastic products.”
Greenpeace says 40% of plastics in the ocean are from single-use plastics, KIRO reported.
This is just one of many steps Seattle has taken in recent years. They are focused on reducing waste. In 2009, Styrofoam was banned. In 2010, it became a requirement that “food service items” be either recyclable or compostable. This requirement excluded both straws and utensils. That same year, the city also mandated that businesses have compost and recycle bins.
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. And New York City introduced legislation to ban plastic straws in May.
A report last year from the academic journal Science Advances said that as of 2015, only 9% of plastics was being recycled, 12% was being incinerated and the other 79% was ending up in the environment.
Will other cities now join with Seattle in declaring the last straw? Let us know what you think about this major environmental move.