What to Know
- Plastic straws may soon be a thing of the past in New York City
- In an effort to curtail plastic waste a bill to ban plastic straws in city establishments was introduced Wednesday
- The bill bans the use of any single-use beverage straw or beverage stirrers made of plastic or any non-biodegradable material
Plastic straws may soon be a thing of the past in New York City.
In an effort to curtail plastic waste, a bill to ban plastic straws in city establishments was introduced Wednesday.
“It’s no secret that we have a plastic problem,” City Council member Rafael Espinal said in a statement. “It is estimated that there are 13 million metric tons of plastic clogging our oceans and that 100,000 marine creatures die from plastic entanglement a year.”
Espinal went on to say that something “as simple as changing how you drink your iced coffee in the morning or your cocktail at night” could impact the amount of plastic that is disposed.
According to the Espinal, the bill says that no food service establishment or beverage service establishment in the city will offer consumers any single-use beverage straw or beverage stirrers made of plastic or any non-biodegradable material.
The bill stipulates that the city will not issue penalties for the first two-years after the legislation has been enacted, only warnings and informational materials, however, it carries a penalty of $100 for the first violation after the allotted two years.
The legislation also makes exceptions for people that require straws due to disability or a medical condition.
According to Espinal, every year am estimated 100,000 marine creatures die from plastic entanglement in addition to one million seabirds.
Plastic straws are among the most common litter found on shores and oceans, but they are among the easiest plastic to replace, Espinal says.
Seattle, Miami Beach and Malibu, California, have already implemented similar bans, but New York City would be the largest city in the country to implement the measure.
California is also contemplating statewide legislation. There is also a Britain-wide ban on the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton swabs.
Private companies — including Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Costa Café and McDonalds UK — have also started to ban plastic
In a statement to NBC 4 New York, a McDonald’s spokesperson said the company continues “to work to find a more sustainable solution for plastic straws globally and are currently assessing and testing various alternatives to plastic straws in several markets.”
National and international environmental advocates, including the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Sierra Club and Oceanic Global shared their support of the bill.