Here’s another reason to love Seattle if you don’t already: The gray city just became the first major one in the U.S. to ban plastic straws, utensils, and even cocktail picks.
The city’s been working on this particular ban since last year though it’s been working on phasing out single-use food items since 2008. The ban is finally on and popping as of Sunday. Other major cities like New York and San Francisco have flirted with the idea of banning plastic straws because, well, our obsession with convenience is causing plastic to show up in literally everything (especially our oceans). Seattle, however, has actually done it. My people in the Pacific Northwest do not play when it comes to the environment.
The city encouraged restaurants and bars to finish any plastics they have in stock by Sunday, but no biggie for those that still have straws in storage. The Seattle Public Utilities can help them whip up a “compliance schedule” to avoid any fines. And while plastics are out, compostable paper or plastic straws are available in all restaurants and bars. You just gotta’ request one.
Environmentalists and advocates of reducing waste are hailing this a major accomplishment. Seattle’s city’s not huge, but a party can go through dozens of straws easy in a weekend night out on Capitol Hill.
During other plastic ban discussions, disability advocates have raised concerns around accessibility: Will disabled folks still be able to safely consume foods and beverages when they’re out to eat? Paper straws can fall apart and pose choking hazards. Reusable metal straws can be too strong and cause injury.
Luckily, the Seattle ordinance does not penalize those with disabilities. A flexible plastic straw will be given to anyone who requires it for medical reasons, reports The Seattle Times.
For everyone else, pack your reusable straw for your next trip to the Emerald City.