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“We’re just polluting our rivers with this plastic stuff,” Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans said at today’s legislative meeting. “The plastic straws are a disaster. They’re everywhere! When I was growing up, we didn’t have them. They were made out of paper.”
He and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced a bill that would make it illegal for any food service entity to sell, use, or provide a plastic straw or stirrer with any food or beverage unless the straw or stirrer is made of a material that can be composted.
In D.C. there is also a coalition of restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, and event venues that have done away with single-use plastic straws. It’s called “Our Last Straw” and participants include Founding Farmers, Beefsteak, Bresca, Service Bar, ChiKo, and Taylor Gourmet.
Restaurants that have already made the switch are using biodegradable straws made out of everything from paper and corn to seaweed and bamboo.
If the “Sustainable Straws and Stirrers Amendment Act of 2018”is signed into law, it would take effect Jan.1, 2019.
Cheh explains that single-use, disposable plastic straws are already banned in the District, but there’s been a lack of enforcement. Restrictions are spelled out in the Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2014.
“This legislation is needed to raise awareness and codify our commitment to phasing-out plastic and phasing-in compostable, reusable, or recyclable products,” Cheh tweeted moments after the bill was introduced.
Earlier this month, Seattle became the first city in the U.S. to ban plastic straws and utensils. Any restaurant, food truck, cafeteria, coffee shop, or other food service business caught with plastic must pay a $250 fine.
Please, let these plastic drink pouches be the next thing the Council decides to ban.
Photo by Flickr user Horia Varlan