See Which City Has Made A Plastic Straw and Utensil Free Zone
By: Kaitlin Meilert
Seattle is making waves with a plastic straw ban that went into effect July 1. The ordinance requires food service businesses to replace plastic straws and utensils with compostable alternatives.
The plastic straw ban stems from Seattle’s 2008 ban on Styrofoam and other non-recyclable/non-compostable food packaging and service ware. A ban on plastic straws and utensils was tabled until affordable and effective replacements hit the market.
Seattle is helping restaurants make the switch by offering resources for obtaining compostable alternatives. Restaurants are also welcome to provide reusable straws or encourage customers to forego a straw altogether.
Seattle is the first major U.S. city to enact a plastic straw ban, but the trend is catching on quick. From Vancouver to Malibu to Scotland and Taiwan, cities and countries around the world are introducing, planning, or contemplating plastic straw bans in a global movement to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans.
Ecocycle reports that 500 million straws are used in the US alone every day. A lot of those straws end up in the ocean, whether from human littering, blowing out of trash cans, or slipping through recycling sorters. As a result, straws accumulate in oceans with other plastics, polluting the water and harming sea life.
According to Strawless Ocean, about 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with straws and other plastics in their stomachs. The Ocean Conservancy adds that plastics affect nearly 700 marine species, from plankton to whales. Ingesting plastics reduces fitness, nutrient uptake, and feeding efficiency and contaminates the food chain.
And who could forget the video of a straw embedded in a sea turtle’s nose that went viral in 2015?
Sea lovers stuck in plastic straw-friendly cities can still do their part to reduce plastic pollution in Earth’s oceans. Here’s how:
- Say no to plastic straws. When sipping on water, smoothies, iced lattes, and other cruelty-free drinks at your favorite vegan cafe, go strawless and simply say “no” when the server offers a straw.
- Invest in a reusable straw. Reusable straws are so in and super easy to slip inside your bag when you head out to dine. Be sure to get a straw cleaning brush as well to keep your new drink companion squeaky clean.
- Get family and friends on board. Talk to family and friends about the harmful effects of straws on oceans and marine life or get reusable straws for the whole gang!
- Spread the word worldwide. Raise awareness on the streets and on social media by rocking our organic Skip A Straw Save A Turtle tee! Bonus: 15% of the profits will go to ocean conservation! Get the shirt here!
What’s your go-to alternative to plastic straws? Let us know in the comments section below!