Plastic straws are now banned in Seattle

Screenshot via YouTube  Lonley Whale

If you use a plastic straw or plastic utensils in Seattle now, get ready to pay.

Businesses that violate the ban could have to pay a $250 fine.

Neither are plastic utensils in the latest push to reduce waste and prevent marine plastic pollution.

The ban bars restaurants from giving out the single-use plastic items unless specifically requested by a patron, in which case only compostable straws and utensils can be offered up, according to an official notice from Seattle Public Utilities. Nor does any serious research justify targeting straws: The oft-cited figure that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day comes from a survey conducted by a 9-year-old. Restaurants, grocery stores, food trucks, and cafeterias can now switch to compostable paper or plastic straws. These small pieces of plastic are among the most frequently littered items, advocates for such bans say. "Then, a customer should be given a compostable option", writes Fox News.

The Seattle Times reports that it's believed to be the first major USA city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service. For example, Styrofoam food packaging was banned in 2009, according to the Seattle Times. And, in 2015, a video of a sea turtle found with a plastic straw embedded in its nose went viral.

California's Legislature is considering statewide restrictions, but not an outright ban, on single-use plastic straws.

According to the Strawless Ocean campaign, straws can ruin loads of recycling because a lot of them aren't heavy enough to make it through industrial recycling sorters. But because of the market, plastic utensils and straws have been exempted in Seattle's ban until now, the newspaper reported. First articulated in September of past year, the new ban officially went into effect on Sunday.

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