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In a strong visible environmental-friendly move, Seattle becomes the first major city in the United States to ban plastic straws and utensils at all food services businesses. Starting Sunday, July 1, 2018, the law prohibits the provision of plastic items to customers in restaurants, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, cafeterias, grocery stores and pretty much every food service provider around you. This has been reported to be the first-of-its-kind law for any major American city with over five thousand food service providers.
According to Seattle Times, an ordinance was established in 2008 (a decade ago), requiring that all one-time-use items for food services be decomposable with the exemption of straws and other utensils because no suitable alternatives had been discovered. Hence, they remained and resulted in an increase in environmental pollution.
Before the law was passed, plastic straws, utensils, and other small plastic items had clearly become a menace to the environment, hurting both the marine life and wildlife. Advocates for the ban have complained that these plastic items had majorly contributed to the list of frequently littered items. Consumers also supported the ban as campaigns like “Save our ocean” and “Petition on change” has been created and promoted.
A particular campaign comes to mind, “Imagine a world where we could stop consuming 500 million straws a day, just in America. Imagine a world that is less dependent on plastic. That is the change we can start today.”
Other campaigns like Strawless Ocean Initiative sprouted. An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been discovered to have some kind of plastic in their stomach, increasing the mortality rate of marine life, and fueling the need for a ban.
The genesis of Seattle’s ban on Sunday was the success of Lonely Whale Foundation, an Ocean Advocacy nonprofit which ran some time last year. It enjoyed relative success as over 2.3million plastic straws were exchanged by businesses in Seattle for decomposable alternatives.
With multiple manufacturers of compostable utensils and straws popping everywhere, businesses no longer have a reason not to subscribe to the new trend of environmental-friendly practices. With a fine of $250 for any defaulting business, officials insist that more emphasis will be placed on educating the public for widespread compliance in the coming years rather than strict enforcement alone.
This is a bold move by Seattle and should encourage more nations to be at the forefront of developing initiatives and instituting legislation that will reduce plastic pollution and ultimately protect the planet. While Seattle may have set the pace, cities like San Francisco, Santa Cruz County, and Malibu are beginning to follow suit by instituting similar bans, thus restricting the use of plastic straw and utensils through legislation.
So you would no longer find plastic straws to sip your Mojitos or soda in Seattle! The new language on the block is recyclable straws and utensils! And it is definitely here to stay!