Seattle has officially become the first major US city to ban restaurants from giving plastic straws and utensils to customers in an effort to help the environment. The city's 5,000 restaurants can not provide customers plastic straws or utensils.
The law prohibitsall food-service businesses, including restaurants, coffee shops, delis, and pubs, from offering any disposable straw or utensil to patrons unless they specifically request one. Seattle is now the first major American city to ban them.
'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.
Seattleites will still probably see plastic straws around town for the next couple months, as plenty of businesses are still scrambling to make the switch to their compostable counterparts.
Greenpeace says 40% of plastics in the ocean are from single-use plastics, KIRO reported.
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Restaurants will be tasked with finding alternatives, such as compostable paper or plastic utensils, and could face fines up to $250 for noncompliance. Then, a customer should be given a compostable option, according to Seattle Public Utilities. In 2009, Styrofoam was banned. 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.
California's Legislature is considering statewide restrictions, but not an outright ban, on single-use plastic straws.
Flexible plastic straws for customers who require them for medical reasons are exempt from the ban. City officials said most customers will say "no" if asked if they want a straw.
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