Smaller cities in California, including Malibu and San Luis Obispo, have restricted the use of plastic straws, however, Seattle is believed to be the first major U.S. city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service, according to Seattle Public Utilities. Seattle’s ban is part of a 2008 ordinance that requires restaurants and other food-service businesses to find recyclable or compostable alternatives to disposable containers, cups, straws, utensils and other products.
In the latest step to reduce waste and prevent marine plastic pollution, businesses that sell food or drinks won’t be allowed to offer the plastic items. Seattle’s 5,000 restaurants will now have to use reusable or compostable utensils, straws and cocktail picks, though the city is encouraging businesses to consider not providing straws altogether or switch to paper rather than compostable plastic straws.
Proposals to ban plastic straws are being considered in other cities, including New York and San Francisco.