Cities across the nation from Miami to Malibu have enacted varying degrees of bans on plastic straws and other single-use plastics, including cutlery. Bon Appétit Management Company, which provides culinary services for 1,000 cafés in 33 states and sports venues like AT&T Park in San Francisco, announced that it will completely transition to paper straws by September 2019, according to NPR. Now New York City Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr. has introduced a bill that would ban straws from all restaurants, cafés, street food vendors and venues like Yankee Stadium in all five boroughs. Espinal also says he has support from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.
United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May announced a wide-ranging plastic straw ban in May that aims to eliminate plastic straws, cotton swabs and stirrers, in response to reports that 150 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year. While May’s policies have received mostly positive responses, Jamie Szymkowiak, the co-founder of Scottish disability rights organization One In Five, pointed out that the ban would make life even harder for those with Parkinson’s and less motor functions, as they rely on plastic straws to be able to enjoy all beverages, including hot ones like coffee and tea. He tells iNews that biodegradable and paper straws often don’t perform well in hot drinks and can become a choking hazard when they get soggy.
While an eco-friendly universal ban on plastic straws may not prove to be universally accessible, it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, announced the elimination of plastic straws at the start of the season back in April. According to The Takeout, biodegradable straws are available at request.