Seattle Bans Plastic Straws

Commentary & Community

Seattle Bans Plastic Straws

 

If you buy a latte in Seattle, don’t expect to receive a plastic straw with it. If you order carryout food there, you won’t be getting a plastic fork, either.

 

Seattle recently banned retailers from offering plastic straws and utensils to their customers. Previously, the city had enacted a law that mandated that any food containers or cups offered by retailers must be recyclable. Straws and utensils were originally exempt, but they are now being covered by the same mandate.

 

Advocates say this law is necessary to reduce plastic waste that ends up in the ocean. They contend that animals ingest plastic, shortening their lifespan. A plastic straw ban, according to them, will help reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste that enters the environment.

 

Opponents of the straw ban point out that straws make up a miniscule fraction of the plastic waste that reaches the oceans. They also note that biodegradable straws are much more costly than plastic straws and do not work as well. Many business owners oppose this law because they say it is expensive and complicated to comply with.

 

Under this ordinance, retailers cannot offer straws to customers. If a customer asks for one, then the straw must be both biodegradable and compostable. Business owners that violate this law could face fines up to $250.

 

Do you support banning plastic straws to help the environment? Or is a straw ban a feel-good gimmick that will have little effect on pollution?

 

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