Seattle becomes first major city to ban plastic straws and utensils


    Plastic straws like these will be prohibited at Seattle restaurants starting July 1. (KOMO News photo)<p>{/p}

    SEATTLE -- Starting Sunday, you won't be able to find plastic straws or utensils when you go out to eat in Seattle.

    Seattle is now the first major city to implement the new plastic straw and utensil ban.

    Because 500 million plastic straws end up in the world's oceans every year, environmentalists are praising Seattle for enacting the ban.

    Officials said the measure is needed as part of the city's continuing efforts to reduce waste and prevent petroleum-based plastics from contaminating compost and polluting marine waters.

    Big Food at Seattle Center's Armory has been making the transition from plastic to compostable straws for months.

    "We're ready for it but I think the next step is to put out signage that will really help educate people on where they should be sorting their materials," Erin Savoy with Big Food said.

    At Wow Bubble Tea, the owner says the price tag for compostable straws can be double or even triple the price of plastic straws.

    Bubble tea drinker Jay Beler says there is a price for everything.

    "If you can't spend the green to save the green, you shouldn't be in business," Beler said.

    If restaurants don't comply after the grace period, they could face a $250 fine.

    Some places KOMO News spoke to say they haven't thrown away the plastic straws and will still use them until they are finished.

    The city of Seattle said the law does allow businesses to provide plastic bendable straws to disabled persons who may require them.

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