Starting July 1, Seattle will still offer lots of beverages for the parched to slake their thirsts. However, the libations will not arrive with traditional plastic straws. The city is finally enacting a long anticipated prohibition on petroleum based straws.
The legislation actually passed through in 2008. However, in cases where a “viable alternative” was not available, exemptions were granted—in effect, delaying the law’s implementation. On Friday (6.22), the city government declared that said alternatives are now widely available and eliminated the exemptions.
“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 (SPU) General Manager Mami Hara told WLTX19.
About 200 restaurants voluntarily implemented the plastic straw ban last year. Activists estimate that the initial effort removed 2.3 million plastic straws from the municipality’s waste stream.
The straw ban is the culmination of Seattle’s anti-waste bill. Items including foam and plastic clamshell go-containers as well as plastic forks, knives, and spoons were previously replaced with compostable alternatives.
Plastic straws take hundred of years to biodegrade. Environmentalists estimate that over one billion straws are thrown away daily.