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Seattle bans plastic straws, utensils at businesses

09 July 2018

Screenshot via YouTube/Lonley WhaleSeattle continues to play its role as an incubator of bad policy ideas by imposing the nation's first ban on plastic straws.

Q: What happens if businesses don't comply?

Seattle has been slowly banning restaurants from giving out disposable food containers and other single-use food service items since 2009.

"Starting July 1, restaurants in the Emerald City are now barred from providing customers plastic straws, cocktail picks or utensils unless someone specifically requests one".

A ban went into effect Sunday outlawing those particular straws and utensils at "all food service businesses, including restaurants, grocery stores, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, and institutional cafeterias".

With 5,000 food service providers in the area, Seattle is the first major city in the U.S.to enact such a ban, KIRO-TV reported.

According to the Strawless Ocean campaign, straws can ruin loads of recycling because majority aren't heavy enough to make it through industrial recycling sorters. Under the new rules, establishments will need to offer their customers "compliant options"-for example, straws made of paper or compostable plastics or risk a fine". "And really taking a stand on what needs to happen, a ban on all single-use plastic products". However, Seattle Public Utilities spokeswoman Ellen Pepin-Cato said that the focus this upcoming year will be on "continuing outreach and assistance to businesses to help them come into compliance, rather than enforcement". These small pieces of plastic are among the most frequently littered items, advocates for such bans say.

More than 200 restaurants in the city voluntarily adopted the ban previous year, stopping millions of straws from entering the waste stream, according to the Lonely Whale Foundation, an environmental group running the "Strawless in Seattle" campaign.

Seattle bans plastic straws, utensils at businesses