Banning plastic straws sounds annoying, but here’s why it’s a fight cities must win
Starbucks announced on Monday that it plans to eliminate single-use plastic straws globally by 2020. Last month, McDonald’s said it will start testing plastic straw alternatives at select US locations this year.
The announcements come amid calls from environmental activists urging American cities and food conglomerates to ditch plastic straws.
The effort to ban straws may seem like misplaced energy relative to the scale of all plastic waste, but it may serve as a litmus test for similar bans in the future.
Two of the largest food conglomerates are moving toward ditching single-use plastic straws.
On Monday, Starbucks announced that it will eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020. McDonald’s said last month that it plans to test plastic straw alternatives at select US locations this year. In the UK, the fast-food giant has already decided to adopt biodegradable paper straws by 2019. And Bon Appétit Management, a food-service company with 1,000 US locations, announced last May that it’s phasing out plastic straws as well.
Meanwhile, several American cities have enacted their own bans or have proposals in the works. In 2012, Miami Beach banned hotels from serving straws because they were ending up on the sand and in the ocean, threatening marine life. Fort Myers, Florida and Seattle took the same steps in January 2018.
New York City, as well as cities in Hawaii and California, have pending straw-ban legislation, too.
Much of the reasoning behind straw bans is environmental. Because plastic straws are tiny and take more than 400 years to biodegrade, they commonly slip through the cracks of cities’ waste-recycling processes, clogging ponds, rivers, and oceans. And unlike their plastic counterparts (like forks, takeout containers, plastic bags, etc.), straws don’t offer a purpose besides a bit of convenience.
In addition, …read more
Source:: Business Insider