Could this be the new norm in cities nationwide?
If you order a frappé in the coffee capital of the world, you’ll no longer be sipping it through a plastic green straw.
That’s because as of July 1, Seattle has become the first major U.S. city to ban the use of plasticware in restaurants, including straws, utensils, and cocktail picks. The move is intended to curb plastic waste and encourage conversation around environmental conservation, lawmakers say.
Straws have become a target in cities from coast to coast in recent years, with Malibu making the move to eliminate them from restaurants in June, and New York City considering a similar ban right now. (Across the pond, England is also discussing a plan to eliminate the sale of single-use plastics by next year.)
Related: Meet Our 2017 Ocean Heroes:
What’s the big deal with plastic straws? According to Lonely Whale, co-founded by Coastal Living Ocean Hero Adrian Grenier, straws are among the top 10 items found during beach cleanups. Because they are small and lightweight, they’re easily left behind or blown away, and are too small to make it through mechanical recycling sorters—which means they inevitably end up as waste in landfills and on our beaches. Because of this, it’s estimated that most of the 500 million straws used every day in America end up in our oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life.
Last September, Seattle took the straw ban for a test drive, with 150 businesses participating in “Strawless in Seattle” in partnership with Lonely Whale. The month-long campaign prevented 2.3 million plastic straws from entering the waste system.
Whether you live in Seattle or not, let’s all take this as an opportunity to #StopSucking (if you don’t already!).