Seattle will ban plastic straws and utensils at restaurants next year

The exemption that allowed restaurants to dispense plastics is set to expire and will not be renewed.

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Seattle continues to push for the reduction of waste, moving ahead with their plans for a 2010 ordinance to take place next year that will ban plastic straws and utensils at restaurants.

Next July, food services businesses will not be allowed to provide plastic straws or utensils to their customers, and will have to instead provide compostable straws and utensils. They may also be “providing durables, reusables, or encouraging you to skip the straw altogether.”

The original ordinance was passed in 2010, but according to Sego Jackson, strategic advisor for Waste Prevention and Product Stewardship for Seattle Public Utilities, its implementation was stalled because compostable alternatives were not yet a viable option.

Now the exemption that allowed restaurants to dispense plastics is set to expire and will not be renewed.

Restaurants will be given assistance with the transition. Those that do not comply will first be warned, then fined. Grocery stores will continue to sell plastic straws and utensils.

Some companies have already started moving away from plastic, ahead of the ordinance. 500 local groups and restaurants plan to go plastic-free for the month of September, and others, such as the Seattle Aquarium, have already gone plastic-free altogether.

Every year, Americans discard 180 billion plastic straws, translating to 1.4 million kilograms of plastic dumped into landfills and oceans every day.

Seattle began their bans on plastics in 2010 when they banned plastic bags, which has resulted in reducing plastic waste by 50 percent.

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