Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Economy | By

Seattle Becomes Latest City To Ban Plastic Straws, Utensils

Seattle Becomes Latest City To Ban Plastic Straws, Utensils

Don't sip the Kool-Aid: Banning plastic straws is no way to save the environment.

Any of Seattle's 5,000 restaurants found to be violating the ban could face a fine of up to $250. It's no longer allowed in Seattle bars and restaurants.

Plastic straws and utensils were originally exempt from the ban because of a lack of viable compostable alternatives. Should a customer ask for one, said straw will have to be not just biodegradable but compostable under Seattle's exacting city-level standards.

So, as of Sunday, businesses were expected to have used up their inventories of plastic utensils and straws, although establishments that needed more time to comply are able to work with the city's Public Utilities department. Counted among food service businesses are restaurants, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, cafeterias, and grocery stores.

Since 2008, Seattle has been rolling out a citywide ban on single-use plastics and removed exemptions from the list of prohibited items each year.


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.

Every day, people in the USA use and discard an estimated 50 million straws.

Environmental groups say that of the two options, compostable paper straws are preferred to compostable plastic straws, because the paper straws can biodegrade in the ocean, while the plastic ones won't. For example, Styrofoam food packaging was banned in 2009, according to the Seattle Times.

According to the Strawless Ocean campaign, straws can ruin loads of recycling because a lot of them aren't heavy enough to make it through industrial recycling sorters. Food service businesses can make flexible plastic straws available to people who need them for medical reasons.

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