New York City May Ban Plastic Straws
New York City council members are introducing a bill today that would ban plastic straws and plastic coffee stirrers at restaurants, bars, cafes, food carts, and stadiums around the city. Councilman Rafael Espinal, lead sponsor of the bill, explained the necessity of the bill to the New York Times: “It’s important for New Yorkers to understand that the plastic straw is not a necessity; it’s more of a luxury, and our luxury is causing great harm to other environments." If it passes, violators could be fined $100 or more.
It's estimated that Americans use 500 million straws daily—a truly insane figure. This all contributes to the ever-growing amount of plastic trash in the world's oceans, which is currently estimated to be around eight million tons.
The bill to ban plastic straws comes on the heels of campaigns to reduce the usage of plastic bags, styrofoam, and plastic water bottles throughout the country and the world. In 2017, California became the first state to ban plastic bags, following the lead of nations like Kenya, China, and Macedonia. Just last month, New York's Governor Cuomo introduced a bill to outlaw plastic bags statewide by next year. By 2020, France will have phased out all plastic dinnerware: bags, utensils, cups, plates, and bowls. Grub Street points out that Seattle, Malibu, and England have all banned straws, and McDonald's shareholders are voting this week on forbidding straws at storefronts worldwide.
New York's plastic straw ban allows for straws made of other materials, like paper, bamboo, and aluminum. So, if you're a straw fan, now's the time to stock up on the reusable stainless steel version. Or, you know, you could just start drinking your beverages like an adult.