New York City Straw Ban – Fight Against Plastic Straws

Local Council Debate on New York City Straw Ban

On Wednesday, May 23rd, three Democrats on New York city council—Rafael Espinal of Brooklyn, Helen Rosenthal of Manhattan, and Barry Grodenchik of Queens— offered an New York City straw ban, an ordinance banning businesses, hotels, and other eateries from handing out single-use plastic straws. Establishments could be eligible for a penalty of $100 for the initial violation, $200 for a repeat, and $400 for any violations thereafter. This is the first New York Plastic Straw Ban of it’s type.

Plastic straws are the 5th among the most common plastic waste found on beaches. This stubborn trash is also among the most difficult plastic to recycle.  However it is also the easiest to replace.  Plastic straw alternatives manufactured from, bamboo, metal or glass are available, yet scarce.  Then again, Americans can ditch the straw also. All the same, New York City straw bans, like this one, can set the tone for the rest of the nation.

The New York City Straw Ban, is not just a public effort, however.  In the city, more than 65  public-private partners have joined the campaign, including restaurateurs like Michael Jewell (Pier A), Tom Colicchio (Gramercy Tavern) and David Laris (EDEN Local), coupled with a variety of other establishments. All businesses, no matter how little or large, venerated or new, close or distant from the waterfront, can contribute to the cause for paper straws.

However there is some push back – As one chemical engineering professor put it to National Geographic, “Let’s say you recycle 100 percent in all of North America and Europe. You still would not make a dent on the plastics released into the oceans. If you want to do something about this, you have to go there, to these countries, and deal with the mismanaged waste.”  Straw bans in a couple coastal cities will do little to help to the environment. But they would do a good job of inconveniencing customers and ruining businesses for whom plastic straws are a crucial component of the drinks they service.

This is where OKSTRAW™ steps in, in providing a viable alternative that is planet safe and people friendly.  Check out more on our paper straw products here, in light of the New York City straw ban.