US city says to stop sucking on plastic

Seattle plastic straw utensil ban takes effect

San Francisco & Berkeley are among the Bay Area cities considering a ban on plastic straws.

Businesses that don't comply may face a fine of up to $250.

The use of Styrofoam packaging in food service was banned in 2009.

Greenpeace says 40% of plastics in the ocean are from single-use plastics, KIRO reported.

Starting July 1, restaurants in the Emerald City are now barred from providing customers plastic straws, cocktail picks or utensils unless someone specifically requests one.

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Other cities, such as Miami Beach, Florida; Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, and several municipalities in California including Oakland and Berkeley, have all banned the use of disposable plastic straws, but not utensils. And, in 2015, a video of a sea turtle found with a plastic straw embedded in its nose went viral.

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. In 2010, it became a requirement that "food service items" - with the exception of straws and utensils - be either recyclable or compostable.

Businesses can opt for straws and utensils made from more environmentally friendly materials such as paper, steel and bamboo.

Americans are said to use 500 million straws per day, according to National Park Service estimates.

According to the Strawless Ocean campaign, straws can ruin loads of recycling because majority aren't heavy enough to make it through industrial recycling sorters. Then, a customer should be given a compostable option, according to Seattle Public Utilities. Seattle Public Utilities exempted plastic utensils and straws due to a lack of compostable alternatives. Food service businesses can make flexible plastic straws available to people who need them for medical reasons.

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