Italian Island of Capri Bans Plastic Straws

The global war on plastic waste keeps roaring on, and this Spring marked yet another victory. With mayoral approval, Capri’s local government banned single-use plastics from the island, including plastic straws. 

This tiny Mediterranean island joins other world-famous beachfront destinations that gave plastic the boot. With Capri banning items like plastic straws, the island’s visitors will soon get a taste of a plastic-free lifestyle. At atOkStraw Paper Straws, we’re elated to hear Capri say arriederci to single use plastics in favor for ecofriendly alternatives like paper straws!

Capri's Plastic Waste Problem

Located off the coast of Naples, Italy, Capri is legendary destination for international tourists and movie stars alike. Cliffside villages, designer boutiques and a sea cave adorn this Mediterranean gem. However, lurking beneath this beguiling surface lies a serious problem.

 

Capri hosts 2.3 million tourists every year, and every one of them leaves their plastic waste behind. With a population equivalent to Chicago visiting this tiny island every year, Capri is struggling to manage this plastic waste. As a result, Mayor Giovanni De Martino just approved a ban on all-single use plastics from the island. 

For a Sustainable Capritian Future

Capri’s single-use plastics ban covers plastic straws, water bottles, bags, cutlery, and stirrers. From now on, all single-use materials on Capri Island must be biodegradable. Otherwise, violators of the single-use plastics ban face fines of up to €500. Although the ban took effect on 1 May, Capri’s government gave local businesses a 90 days to comply

 

While it’s great to hear Capri reject single-use plastics, they would still be covered by another plastics ban. Capri is part of the European Union, which already pledged to phase out single-use plastics in all countries by 2021. Nevertheless, we at OkStraw Paper Straws believe Capri made the right decision to ban single-use plastics. 

Paper Straws for Capri Island

We at OkStraw Paper Straws share much in common with Capri’s residents. Much like Capri, our hometown San Diego is a world-famous destination. Likewise, hosting millions of visitors means we both have to deal with plastic waste. So rather than worry about dealing with plastic waste, why not do away with it? We think so, and that’s why San Diego banned single-use plastics.

 

Thanks to innovative companies like OkStraw Paper Straws, single-use plastic alternatives are here better than ever. OkStraw’s paper straws are fully biodegradable, making them compliant with Capri’s single-use plastics ban. OkStraw paper straws degrade naturally, and never contain harmful chemicals. Once an OkStraw Paper Straw does its job, it returns to the planet that bore it. On the island today, back to nature tomorrow, OkStraw’s paper straws are Capri’s newest ecotourists. 

 

Union City to Ban Plastic Straws

Union City is set to be the newest municipality in California set to ban plastic straws. Citing the need to reduce litter and plastic waste in waterways, the City Council passed the bill unanimously. Taking effect on Jan. 1, 2020, the law requires businesses to only hand out compostable paper straws on request.

In addition to banning plastic straws, the law requires businesses only hand out disposable foodware on request. This list includes paper napkins, single-use takeout containers, and cutlery. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we’re excited to see another city in our home state move away around plastic. 

Plastic straws are no longer welcome in Union City
Union City's Council passed the ban unanimously.

Implementing the Plastic Straw Ban

Union City’s plastic straw ban follows other Bay Area cities, including Palo Alto, Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland, and San Francisco. In addition to local bans, the State of California already restricts plastic drinking straws to an upon-request basis. Union City’s plastic straw ban will affect about 200 businesses, who will need to use compostable alternatives.

 

While the plastic straw ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, Union City won’t begin enforcing it until July 1. Giving a 6-month grace period will allow businesses to deplete their plastic supply, and acquire paper straws. According to city staffers, Union City wants to work with violating businesses to make them compliant, rather than fining them. In the coming months, city staffers will visit each business, and discuss how to comply with the plastic straw ban. 

Quality Paper Straws For Union City

While Union City will work with businesses to switch over, not everyone is excited with the plastic straw ban. Even with more bans driving demand up, paper straws often cost more than plastic. At OkStraw, we understand cost concerns, and that’s why we offer premium paper straws at affordable prices. With factory-direct pricing for our paper straws, choosing OkStraw makes great financial sense. 

 

Although Union City businesses supported banning plastic straws, they didn’t think their customers would. City staffers cited customers unhappy with collapsed, soggy paper straws. These stories are all-too familiar with us at OkStraw, and they’re because of low quality paper straws. Unlike other inferior paper straws, OkStraw’s 3-ply paper straws last 3 hours, and our 4-plies at least 5!

 

Low quality paper straws have no place hurt the consumer experience
OkStraw Paper Bendy Straws are true alternatives to plastic.

Last Stand for Bendy Plastic Straws

Although otherwise comprehensive, Union City’s ban will still allow plastic bendy straws for people with disabilities. Disability rights advocates previously criticized plastic bans, because many people with disabilities need bendy straws to drink. Without any viable paper alternatives, plastic straws held on.

Until now, that is, because OkStraw’s Bendy Paper Straws deliver the final blow to their plastic foe. Our Bendy Paper Straws are ADA-compliant, making them a top choice for people who need them. With OkStraw ADA-compliant paper straws, Union City can both be inclusive, and be 100-percent plastic straw free.

Here's to a Plastic-Free Future

We’d like to commend Union City for taking the big leap to give plastic straws the boot. Thanks to affordable and strong paper straws from companies like OkStraw, making the switch won’t be hard. Whether you serve bubble tea, slushies, or need ADA-compliant bendy paper straws, OkStraw has you covered.

With Union City joining the party, the Bay Area looks poised to ditch plastic straws altogether. At OkStraw, we’re calling out for folks across the US to say farewell to plastic straws, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

India to Ban Single-Use Plastics

The Indian government just announced that it will ban disposable and single-use plastics. Taking effect on October 2nd, the ban outlaws plastic straws, packaging, bags, cups, and foodware. While several states like Maharashtra passed their own bans, this new law affects the entire country.

Plastic waste is a national crisis in India, but this ban goes a long way to solve it. As opponents of single-use plastic, OkStraw Paper Straws is happy to see India take action. OkStraw knows that drastic times call for drastic measures, and with this new ban, India has a greener future on its horizon.  

Plastic waste hurts animals like cows, which live in populated areas.

India's Single-Use Plastic Problem

India is a young, rapidly developing nation of 1.3 billion people, but it suffers from pollution. As a result, cities like Gurudam are among the world’s most polluted, and plastic waste is no better. Plastic waste kills India’s animals, destroys natural habitats, and threatens people’s health. Furthermore, microplastics are a major threat to India’s ecosystem, because they pollute the water, air and soil. 

People in India recycle a large portion of plastic, but it’s not enough to reduce plastic waste. In fact, estimates say that by 2022, the average Indian person will use nearly 50 pounds of plastic every year. That means no matter how much plastic India recycles, there will still be more polluting the environment. India needs extreme measures to solve this crisis, and we at OkStraw think a single-use plastics ban might be it. 

Modi's Campaign Against Plastic

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made fighting plastic waste and pollution a national issue. On August 15th, Modi asked Indians to reject single-use plastics, and plans to phase them out entirely by 2022. With his campaign, Modi wants to create a plastic-free legacy for 1.3 billion people. 

 

Banning single-use plastics nationwide won’t be easy, however, according to New Delhi-based columnist Archana Jyoti. Jyoti explains that India needs viable alternatives to replace single-use plastics, and people need to abide by the law. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we understand this concern, but Indians need not fear, because sustainable solutions are already here. 

Prime Minister Modi vows to end plastic waste in India.

Solutions for a Plastic-Free India

Thanks to growing opposition to single-use plastic waste, biodegradable solutions are hitting the market. In this new market, Indian entrepreneurs are introducing natural, renewable solutions to single-use plasticsWe at OkStraw Paper Straws eagerly await to see new solutions to single-use plastics from India’s new entrepreneurs. 

OkStraw Paper Straws is no stranger to the struggle to create true plastic alternatives. We know the sleepless nights and the trial and error, because we’ve been there. In the end, we created paper straws for any drink, from boba tea to slushies. So while India’s single-use plastic ban shuts one door, it opens far more new doors for entrepreneurs. With each plastics ban, the market for compostable goods keeps growing. And now with 1.3 billion more people, the market just got a whole lot bigger!

Microplastics Found in Tampa Bay, Florida

Microplastic Crisis on the Gulf

While packing our bags for the Florida Restaurant Show in Orlando, we heard news that shocked us. Right down the Florida Gulf Coast, scientists discovered massive amounts of microplastics are in Tampa Bay. This is yet another story of scientists finding massive amounts of microplastics in the environment, and it’s not improving. 

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we take this microplastic threat extremely seriously. There’s no telling what long term health effects microplastics will have on people and animals, but they can’t be good. The Tampa Bay microplastics discovery shows us that plastic waste is yet another part of our planet’s environmental crisis. 

 

The Tampa Bay Area is home to over millions of people
Scientists discovered microplastics in virtually every environment

How Microplastics Were Discovered

Professor David Hastings and his students at Eckerd College made the microplastics discovery, while studying plankton specimens. Hastings wanted to investigate further, and teamed up with Kinsley McEachern, a recent environmental science graduate from the University of Florida St. Petersburg (UFSP). McEachern and Hastings gathered microplastic specimins throughout Tampa Bay, and came to a startling conclusion.

After calculating the size of Florida’s largest estuary, both scientists estimated that 4 billion microplastic pieces litter Tampa Bay’s water, and up 3 trillion cover its sea floor. The sources of these microplastics could be anything, from fishing nets, to plastic bags, plastic straws, and food packaging. 

How Microplastics Hurt Tampa Bay

What does this colossal amount of microplastics mean for Tampa Bay’s ecosystem? UFSP researchers explain that fish and shellfish eat these plankton-sized microplastics, and then become food for marine animals. Microplastics then make their way up the food chain, and end up in seafood that people eat. We at OkStraw know how important a healthly marine environment is for everyone, as we are based in a coastal city. 

Will this microplastic discovery convince cities in Tampa Bay to ban single-use plastics like straws, foodware and bags? Maybe, because other cities like Orlando, Miami Beach and Key West already passed bans. This is a wakeup call for cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg to ban single-use plastics, and heal Tampa Bay.

Marine animals like Sea Turtles are a high risk from plastic waste

For a Plastic-Free Florida

At OkStraw, we’re sadly familiar with microplastics saturating the environment, and Tampa Bay is the latest casualty. We need to rid the world of plastic waste, but this won’t be an easy fight. Plastic straws are just one type of plastic waste, but ditching them for paper straws is a no brainer. Plastic straws are almost impossible to recycle, they break down into microplastics, and they kill marine animals. 

We at OkStraw wage our battle against environmentally destructive plastic straws with our industry-leading paper straws. With unmatched longevity and toughness for any drink from bubble tea to slushies, OkStraw Paper Straws are made for Florida. This weekend, OkStraw will be at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show in Orlando. Stop by and meet us, help make the Sunshine State  plastic free, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

 

California Aims to End Single Use-Plastics by 2030

This week, lawmakers in Sacramento are considering three bills that would effectively end single-use plastics within the next decade. These bills would require all single-use plastic foodware and packaging sold in California be recyclable, or compostable by Jan. 1 2030. The bills would also require a 75 percent reduction in waste from single-use packaging.

 

Under the bill, all single-use foodware including plates, takeout containers, cutlery, cups and straws will need to be recyclable or compostable. Products made from polystyrene and plastic-coated plastic like milk containers will be banned, unless companies make them recyclable. If passed, these California single-use plastic laws will be the strictest of their type in the country. California state legislators have until the end of this week to vote these bills into law, or else they come up for voting next year.

We don’t just want single-use plastics laws, we desperately need them

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch will keep growing bigger and bigger each day, unless we make serious changes

No More Single-Use Plastics

Most of us know how bad single-use plastics are for the environment, but the statistics still shock us at OkStraw Paper Straws. Half of all plastic on Earth is less than 13 years old, and in the U.S. alone, only 9 percent of it sold gets recycled. What’s worse, 13 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year. This plastic kills marine animals, and it’s getting worse. A recent study found that by 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish.

 

These numbers show that we don’t just want single-use plastics laws, we desperately need them. The problem, however, is that the infrastructure to recycle all plastics isn’t there yet, and plastics companies won’t make this step unless the law requires them to do so. At California-based OkStraw Paper Straws, however, we took the initiative, left single-use plastics in the past, where they should be. 

 

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we aren't worried, because the future without single-use plastics is already here.

Supporters and Opponents

The two main legislators behind these bills are Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez from San Diego, and state Senator Ben Allen from Santa Monica. California’s major environmental groups support the bills, including the Sierra Club, Audubon California, and Oceana. Cities like Los Angeles and San Diego (OkStraw’s hometown) are also throwing in their endorsements, and restricted single-use plastics themselves.  

 

California’s proposed single-use plastics laws have a number of opponents however, including the California Chamber of Commerce, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. These groups say California’s single-use plastics laws will will be too costly, and even make modern products like toothpaste illegal. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we aren’t worried, because the future without single-use plastics is already here.

 

While some companies kick and scream about a future beyond single-use plastic, we at OkStraw Paper Straws are already there. 

Paper Straws for California

OkStraw solves the plastic straw problem by making paper straws for today. Our Bendy Paper Straws are ADA compliant, and our Boba Tea Paper Straws offer uncompromised strength and durability. Complying with California’s single-use plastics laws isn’t rocket science, it’s paper science! OkStraw shows that paper is a practical alternative to plastic for single-use foodware like cups, straws, plates and takeout containers.

Yes, paper doesn’t work as well for some products, but that’s why compostable PLA-based plastics are there. While PLA plastics aren’t as biodegradable as paper, they are far better than fossil fuel-based plastics. So California’s single-use plastics laws won’t be the end of the world, in fact they will help save the world. While some companies kick and scream about a future beyond single-use plastic, we at OkStraw Paper Straws are already there.