Seattle's Ban on Plastic Straws, Utensils Begins July 1
Starting next month, Seattle eateries will no longer provide plastic straws, utensils and cocktail picks to customers.
"As of July 1, 2018, food services businesses should not be providing plastic straws or utensils," Sego Jackson, the strategic advisor for Waste Prevention and Product Stewardship for Seattle Public Utilities told Q13 FOX. "What they should be providing are compostable straws or compostable utensils. But they also might be providing durables, reusables, or encouraging you to skip the straw altogether."
There are roughly 5,000 eateries in the city, meaning the new ordinance could potentially make a big impact. Lonely Whale's Strawless in Seattle campaign in September eliminated 2.3 million plastic straws—and that was just from 150 participating restaurants and venues in that month alone, EcoWatch has learned.
Seattle Public Utilities
A growing movement of individuals, municipalities, countries and major corporations are pledging to eliminate single-use plastics that clog our oceans and harm marine life. Seattle is reportedly the first major city in the U.S. to enact such a ban. Other major cities such as New York and San Francisco are considering similar legislation.
"Plastic pollution is surpassing crisis levels in the world's oceans, and I'm proud Seattle is leading the way and setting an example for the nation by enacting a plastic straw ban," said Mami Hara, general manager of Seattle Public Utilities, according to KOMO-TV.
"Our goal for the next year is to help all restaurants, food trucks and food service operations shift away from plastic to compostable food serviceware," Hara added.
The ban only applies to restaurants and the items can still be purchased at city grocery stores. Failure to comply with the ordinance may result in a $250 fine, a letter from Seattle Public Utilities states.
Year-by-year exemptions had allowed restaurants to continue dispensing plastic straws and utensils. The exemption was not renewed this year and is set to expire June 30.
Seattle has made concentrated efforts to reduce its plastic footprint. In 2010, a ban on plastic bags went into effect, which help cut plastic bag waste from residential garbage from 262 tons to 136 tons by 2014—nearly a 50 percent drop.
The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.
This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.
"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.
By Shana Udvardy
After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.
Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.
Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.