Monday, July 2, 2018

Ditch the Plastic

Paper straws sit near Duke Moscrip, owner of Duke's Restaurants, at his restaurant in Seattle June 19. Businesses that sell food or drinks won't be allowed to offer the plastic items under a rule that went into effect Sunday. | GREG GILBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES / VIA AP

Seattle bans plastic straws and utensils at restaurants and bars

The Japan Times  AP
Looking for a plastic straw to sip your soda? It’s no longer allowed in Seattle bars and restaurants.

Neither are plastic utensils in the latest push to reduce waste and prevent marine plastic pollution. Businesses that sell food or drinks won’t be allowed to offer the plastic items under a rule that went into effect Sunday.

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. The eco-conscious city has been an environmental leader in the U.S., working to aggressively curb the amount of trash that goes into landfills by requiring more options that can be recycled or composted.

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.

“Plastic pollution is surpassing crisis levels in the world’s oceans, and I’m proud Seattle is leading the way and setting an example for the nation by enacting a plastic straw ban,” Seattle Public Utilities General Manager Mami Hara said in a statement last month.

Proposals to ban plastic straws are being considered in other cities, including New York and San Francisco.

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Theresa May announced in April a plan to ban the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. She called plastic waste “one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world.”

Smaller cities in California, including Malibu and San Luis Obispo, have restricted the use of plastic straws. San Luis Obispo requires single-use straws only be provided in restaurants, bars and cafes when customers ask for them. City officials said most customers will say “no” if asked if they want a straw.

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.

The city had allowed exemptions for some products until alternatives could be found. With multiple manufacturers offering alternatives, the city let the exemption for plastic utensils and straws run out over the weekend.

Environmental advocates have been pushing for restaurants and other businesses to ditch single-use straws, saying they can’t be recycled and end up in the ocean, polluting the water and harming sea life.

A “Strawless in Seattle” campaign last fall by the Lonely Whale Foundation involving more than 100 businesses voluntarily helped remove 2.3 million single-use plastic straws.

Supporters say it will take more than banning plastic straws to curb ocean pollution but that ditching them is a good first step and a way to start a conversation about waste and ocean conservation.

Seattle urged businesses to use up their existing inventory of plastic utensils and straws before Sunday. Those who weren’t able to use up their supply have been told to work with the city on a compliance schedule.

Businesses that don’t comply may face a fine of up to $250, but city officials say they will work with businesses to make the changes.
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Removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle's nostril - Short Version

The Leatherback Trust Aug 12, 2015  2 min. 23 sec.
While on a research project in Costa Rica, Nathan J. Robinson removed a 10 cm (4 in) plastic straw that was entirely embedded into the nostril of an olive ridley sea turtle. Lamentably, this is a consequence of the world of single-use, non-biodegradable plastic that we currently live in. There is a solution and it lies in our own decisions. Please say no to all single-use plastic. Every plastic straw, plastic bag, or plastic bottle that ends up in the oceans could mean the difference between life or death for any number of marine animals. Video taken by: Christine Figgener.
 

Plastic Fork Removed From Sea Turtle's Nose

The Leatherback Trust Dec 7, 2015  1 min. 33 sec.
Video recorded by Sean A. Williamson. This Olive Ridley Sea Turtle was found with a plastic fork stuck inside its nostril.
 
Lamentably, this is a consequence of a world of single-use, non-biodegradable plastic. There is a solution and it lies in our own decisions. Please say no to all single-use plastic. Every plastic straw, plastic bag, or plastic bottle that ends up in the oceans could mean the difference between life or death for any number of marine animals. The choice is easy. There are sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics. Canvas bags can replace plastic bags, bamboo cutlery can replace plastic cutlery. Please be part of the movement away from single use plastics. Nathan J. Robinson and the Las Baulas field team were able to remove the fork and the turtle returned to the ocean breathing freely! To learn more about our work and support sea turtle conservation, please visit: https:/www.leatherback.org Or our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/leatherbackt....

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