US city says to stop sucking on plastic

Q&A: Seattle's plastic straw ban now in effect; here's what you need to know

Q&A: Seattle's plastic straw ban now in effect; here's what you need to know

If you use a plastic straw or plastic utensils in Seattle now, get ready to pay. New York City introduced legislation to ban plastic straws in May.

The law prohibits all food-service businesses, including restaurants, coffee shops, delis, and pubs, from offering any disposable straw or utensil to patrons unless they specifically request one. The ban is part of a 2008 ordinance that banned any one-time-use food-service items that aren't recyclable or compostable.

'Plastic pollution is surpassing crisis levels in the world's oceans, and I'm proud Seattle is leading the way and setting an example for the nation by enacting a plastic straw ban, ' Seattle Public Utilities general manager Mami Hara told KOMO News. Plastic utensils and cocktail picks have also been outlawed, reports CNBC.

Environmental advocates have been pushing for restaurants and other businesses to ditch single-use straws, saying they can't be recycled and end up in the ocean, polluting the water and harming sea life.

Violators will be subject to a $250 fine.

Americans are said to use 500 million straws per day, according to National Park Service estimates. It's no longer allowed in Seattle bars and restaurants. In 2009, Styrofoam was banned. The paper straws are preferred to the compostable plastic ones. But because of the market, plastic utensils and straws have been exempted in Seattle's ban until now, the newspaper reported.

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. "And really taking a stand on what needs to happen, a ban on all single-use plastic products".

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.

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