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Seattle Bans Plastic Straws and Utensils

Seattle Bans Plastic Straws and Utensils

Earlier this week, Seattle became the first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws and utensils at all food service businesses. 

  Photo by   Alison Marras

Photo by Alison Marras

Under the new law restaurants, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, cafeterias, and grocery stores are prohibited from providing single-use plastics to customers. These businesses may provide customers with compostable straws or utensils upon request.

Seattle first rolled out the law ten years ago in 2008. The initial regulation provided exemptions for certain plastic utensils to allow manufacturers of approved compostable replacements to be developed.

On July 1st the final plastic exemption was removed so that the law is now in full effect.

All food service businesses were expected to use existing inventory of plastic straws and utensils before that date.

Although the ban carries a $250 fine for violations, city officials plan to focus more on education and assistance over the next year. Those businesses who could not comply with the ban in time are asked to contact Seattle Public Utilities to discuss a custom schedule for compliance.

The city is hoping that along with reducing its plastic waste the publicity will start more conversations regarding environmental conservation.

Last September alone 2.3 million plastic straws were prevented from entering the waste system thanks to the 150 businesses participating in Strawless Seattle. ♲




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