Seattle Bans Plastic Straws, Utensils At All Food Service Businesses

Seattle plastic straw utensil ban takes effect

Don't sip the Kool-Aid: Banning plastic straws is no way to save the environment.

Violators will be subject to a $250 fine.

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.

Customers in Seattle will no longer be able to use plastic straws, utensils, or cups when they dine out, after a new ordinance took effect Sunday in the Pacific Northwest city, the Seattle Times reported.

Last September, the ocean advocacy nonprofit Lonely Whale Foundation got businesses in Seattle to exchange 2.3 million plastic straws out for compostable alternatives as part of a Strawless in Seattle campaign. It affects "all food service businesses, including restaurants, grocery stores, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, and institutional cafeterias".

Seattle food providers are now banned from automatically giving customers single-use straws and utensils.

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, a customer should be given a compostable option, according to Seattle Public Utilities. For example, Styrofoam food packaging was banned in 2009, according to the Seattle Times.

New York City and Los Angeles are said to be considering a similar ban on non-compostable straws and utensils.

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.

Bon Appétit Management Company became the first US food service company earlier this year to ban single-use plastic straws in its eateries, according to Greenpeace.

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