By: Jennalee Stack
Due to recent concerns on the state of the environment, banning straws has been put into place to encourage people to understand the global plastic pollution problem.
To those who currently reside in California, your days of sipping from a straw are coming to an end. California Governor, Jerry Brown, signed a bill to reduce ocean waste and the use of plastic straws in the state. This law started going into effect in January of 2019. Although California is the first state to pass a bill on the ban of straws, Seattle was the first city to diminish the usage of plastic straws and utensils in July of 2018.
This means that restaurants will not offer plastic straws to their customers, but customers may ask for one if they absolutely believe it is necessary. This applies to full-service dining institutions, but excludes fast-food restaurants.
California is the first state in America to curb the use of plastic straws in restaurants. Several cities in California, such as Malibu, have completely banned the use of plastic straws and plastic utensils in their restaurants.
Restaurants that violate these laws could be fined $25 a day or even $300 annually. There are many straw alternatives that accomodate to those who have a strong fixation on straws. Many restaurants offer paper straws as well as metal, reusable straws. These can be found almost everywhere in stores and online if you want to use these substitutes at home rather than plastic items.
Straws may be seemingly small and harmless, however they build up in the oceans where they become a major threat to important marine life. Millions of marine animals are killed annually due to plastic waste in the ocean. Recently, a dead whale washed up on the shores of Thailand. There were about 80 plastic bags found in its stomach.
On average, Americans use 500 million straws a day. This equates to filling about 125 school buses with straws every day.
Because of their tiny sizes, consumers often forget to recycle straws and even forget they are plastic. When straws are not recycled, they tend to fail to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter due to their small size. They then contaminate recycling loads or get disposed of as garbage.
Essentially, the straw ban is described as a gateway plastic to help environmentalists and scientists report the overall misusage on plastic and its negative effect on the environment.
It is a small step that will hopefully eliminate the complete usage of single-use plastic products.