Though the wild 500 million-per-day statistic on human straw consumption was extrapolated by a third grader and is probably a little overboard, the fact remains that we use far too many of the things. Just think of every time you’ve ordered a well drink and found two cocktail straws inside. Two straws that you literally never drink from and rarely even use to stir your drink seductively while flirting. The Plastic Oceans Foundation estimates that of the 300 million tons of plastic we produce a year — 50% percent of which is single-use plastic — eight million tons find their way into the ocean. And although eliminating plastic straws is a very very small step toward reducing the amount of single-use plastic items we consume on a daily basis, it’s also a perfectly reasonable and necessary task.
It’s incredibly easy to take a pessimistic view on this matter. After all, as Americans we love to be outraged at minor inconveniences or read and write contrarian think pieces, but with an administration that believes climate change is a deep-state conspiracy, any pushes towards sensible reduction of plastic waste will have to be done on the individual or local levels — and that’s exactly what’s happening in this case. Creating rules like this are never perfect (some people need straws to drink and deserve to have them), but the general idea is a net positive and we’re confident the details will be ironed out to everyone’s satisfaction.
From fancy sippy-cup lids to biodegradable form factors it’s only a matter of time before the single-use plastic straw is (mostly) a thing of the past. Here are all the cities and corporations that are ditching the plastic straw, or at least lessening the circulation in the near future.
Davis, California: Restaurants are required to ask diners if they’re like a straw before providing one, this ordinance does not apply to take-out orders.
Manhattan Beach, California: Implementing a city-wide ban on all single-use plastic utensils.
Malibu, California: Malibu has also banned single-use plastic utensils within Malibu city limits.
Oakland, California: Prohibited use of single-use plastic straws unless requested by a customer.
Richmond, California: Passed a ban on the sale and use of plastic straws and stirrers in May to go into effect by November 15th, 2018.
Santa Cruz, California: An ordinance stating that all disposable food containers, lids, cutlery and straws must be made from biodegradable, compostable or recyclable materials.
San Luis Obispo, California: In effect since March 1st of this year, all vendors are required to ask dine-in customers if they’d like a single-use straw before providing one.
Fort Meyers, Florida: Plastic straws have banned from being distributed within the town of Fort Meyers since earlier this year.
Miami Beach, Florida: An expansion of their existing ban on single-use straws on beaches, now to include sidewalk eateries, piers, parks, and other public gathering places
Monmouth Beach, New Jersey: Vendors are prohibited from providing plastic straws and bags.
Edmonds, Washington: Edmonds has decided to ban plastic straws and other utensils starting officially by early 2020.
Seattle, Washington: Seattle is the first major U.S. city to have a ban on plastic straws. Their law also requires that packaging and serviceware be made of recyclable or compostable materials.