Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Question of the Day: Should all cities ban plastic straws?

Screenshot via YouTube  Lonley Whale Screenshot via YouTube Lonley Whale
Jean Garcia | 09 July, 2018, 15:59

In a first-of-its-kind law for any major American city, Seattle has instituted a ban on plastic straws and utensils at all food service businesses.

Restaurants that do not comply with Seattle's regulations could face a $250 fine. Humans have dumped an estimated 150 million metric tons of plastic into the Earth's marine environments; we add another 8 million metric tons every year.

Seattle is believed to be the first major USA city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service, according to Seattle Public Utilities. Businesses that sell food or drinks won't be allowed to offer the plastic items under a rule that went into effect Sunday.

The Seattle Times reports that it's believed to be the first major USA city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service.

China Trade War Starts
But the thing is some say the trade war started this morning, and in a war, it's not always calm or controllable or rational. The products, all sold on Chinese e-commerce platforms, ranged from pet food to mixed nuts and whiskey.

'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. These small pieces of plastic are among the most frequently littered items, advocates for such bans say. 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.

The full ban went into effect on July 1, a decade after the city first introduced a measure requiring restaurants to use only recyclable and compostable materials. Then, a customer should be given a compostable option, according to Seattle Public Utilities.

Proposals to ban plastic straws are being considered in other cities, including NY and San Francisco. Food service businesses can make flexible plastic straws available to people who need them for medical reasons.

Moscrip said that he converted his restaurant over to compostable products in 2015 anyway, because it was 'the right thing to do.' These days, environmentally friendly straws and utensils are only about 10 per cent more expensive than the alternative.

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