Seattle bans use of plastic straws, utensils at restaurants, bars

Lloyd Doyle
July 9, 2018

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

Restaurants will be tasked with finding alternatives, such as compostable paper or plastic utensils, and could face fines up to $250 for noncompliance.

The ban impacts over 5,000 restaurants and food providers in the region. It's no longer allowed in Seattle bars and restaurants. Plastic utensils and cocktail picks have also been outlawed, reports CNBC.

The law prohibits all food-service businesses, including restaurants, coffee shops, delis, and pubs, from offering any disposable straw or utensil to patrons unless they specifically request one. If they end up in the ocean, they're just as likely to harm sea creatures as plastic ones. In 2010, it became a requirement that "food service items" - with the exception of straws and utensils - be either recyclable or compostable.

Every day, people in the US use and discard an estimated 50 million straws. For example, Styrofoam food packaging was banned in 2009, according to the Seattle Times.


Seattle's single-use plastics ban is said to be part of the city's efforts to limit waste and prevent petroleum-based plastics from polluting the oceans.

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

Moscrip said that he converted his restaurant over to compostable products in 2015 anyway, because it was 'the right thing to do.' These days, environmentally friendly straws and utensils are only about 10 per cent more expensive than the alternative.

Business groups have opposed the idea in Hawaii, where legislation to ban plastic straws died this year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday, with the Hawaii Restaurant Association and Hawaii Food Industry Association testifying against the measure.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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