Seattle bans plastic straws, utensils at businesses

Seattle bans plastic straws, utensils at businesses

Seattle has banned restaurants from using plastic straws and utensils. after a new ordinance took effect Sunday.

Violators will be subject to a $250 fine.

The use of Styrofoam packaging in food service was banned in 2009. 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.

The ban bars restaurants from giving out the single-use plastic items unless specifically requested by a patron, in which case only compostable straws and utensils can be offered up, according to an official notice from Seattle Public Utilities. Businesses can use compostable utensils, straws and cocktail picks.

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.

‘Drunk’ seagulls have been confusing the RSPCA in Somerset
Firefighters were called to one gull behaving erratically on a roof before falling off in Lyme Regis, Dorset. The RSPCA said some of the birds had died, while others went on to recover.

"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", Mami Hara, the general manager of Seattle Public Utilities, told KOMO News.

Environmental advocates have been pushing for restaurants and other businesses to ditch single-use straws, saying they can't be recycled and end up in the ocean, polluting the water and harming sea life. Then, the products were "30 to 40 percent more expensive", he said.

Proposals to ban plastic straws are being considered in other cities, including NY and San Francisco.

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.

Flexible plastic straws for customers who require them for medical reasons are exempt from the ban.

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