Seattle is first major U.S. city to ban drinking straws

Screenshot via YouTube  Lonley Whale

Screenshot via YouTube Lonley Whale

After 10 years since it was first introduced, Seattle's ban on plastic straws and utensils is now in effect.

Seattle has officially become the first major US city to ban restaurants from giving plastic straws and utensils to customers in an effort to help the environment.

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

Seattle Public Utilities says a 2008 ordinance has phased out various plastic products from the food industry.

Seattleites will still probably see plastic straws around town for the next couple months, as plenty of businesses are still scrambling to make the switch to their compostable counterparts.

Though the ban carries a $250 fine for any businesses who violate it, city officials told The Seattle Times that the focus for the next year will be more on educating and assisting businesses with compliance than on enforcement.

Every day, people in the USA use and discard an estimated 50 million straws. Then, a customer should be given a compostable option, according to Seattle Public Utilities. It's no longer allowed in Seattle bars and restaurants. For example, Styrofoam food packaging was banned in 2009, according to the Seattle Times.

And making paper straws creates more air pollution - plus you often have to use more than one, after the first gets too soggy.

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

Seattle's single-use plastics ban is said to be part of the city's efforts to limit waste and prevent petroleum-based plastics from polluting the oceans.

According to the Strawless Ocean campaign, straws can ruin loads of recycling because a lot of them aren't heavy enough to make it through industrial recycling sorters.

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