Washington, D.C.’s Plastic Straw Ban Now in Effect

Washington, D.C. has become the latest in a growing number of cities to outlaw plastic straws. The ban’s grace period ban officially ended on July 1st, and follows a 9-year-old nickel bag tax, and a 3-year-old ban on plastic food containers. Businesses in the District will now have to switch from plastic straws to biodegradable alternatives such as paper straws, or face fines ranging from $100 to $800.

This plastic straw ban took effect over a three-step process. The first step came when the ban became law on October 1st last year, whereby the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) gave a January 1st deadline for businesses to get rid of plastic straws. The second step took place on January 1st, when the DOEE issued warnings for noncompliance. The third and final process began on July 1st, when DC began issuing fines for violations.

So far, D.C. 's plastic straw ban seems to succeed in accommodating people with disabilities.

In order to enforce this ban, the DOEE will conduct inspections at businesses throughout the District; the DOEE conducted similar inspections following the District’s polystyrene takeout container ban. These compliance inspections will occur throughout the year. Customers can tip the DOEE about businesses regularly serving plastic straws instead of legal alternatives like paper straws.

DC will however allow restaurants to carry a limited supply of plastic straws, in order to serve disabled customers who still need to use these straws. These plastic straws will be handed out only by request, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Soon, this exception won’t be necessary, because companies like OkStraw already make paper straw for everyone’s needs.

Washington D.C’s single-use plastic straw ban has so far been met with positive feedback from local businesses

Washington, D.C. has a long history with the drinks straw. It was in the District where in 1888, Marvin Chester Stone received the first patent for a paper straw design, and made the product locally. Over time however, Stone’s biodegradable paper straw became the bendable plastic straw that cannot decompose. Stone’s invention deserves the spotlight, and OkStraw Paper Straws hopes to do him proud.

Washington D.C’s single-use plastic straw ban has so far been met with positive feedback from local businesses. In fact, a number of D.C. businesses phased out plastic straws before the ban went into effect. Establishments like the Greek chain Cava used paper straws for over a year. OkStraw is excited to hear about these early adopters, and their push to take the initiative by switching to paper straws.

paper straw inventor

Paper Straws Compliant with D.C.'s Ban

For businesses and residents in the District, finding a legal alternative is easy as can be. That’s because OkStraw Paper Straws is ready to serve D.C. with our high quality, DOEE-compliant paper straws. OkStraw’s paper straws are certified biodegradable, and are made from foodgrade, organic paper dyes, paper and glue. Our catalog includes ADA-compliant bendy paper straws, Boba Tea paper straws, spoon paper straws and in any custom print option you want. An OkStraw Paper Straw will be the object of envy for every DOEE straw inspector. 

Washington, D.C.’s plastic straw ban follows cities such as Monmouth Beach, New Jersey; Miami Beach, Florida; Seattle, Washington, and a number of coastal cities in California and Florida. A plastic straw ban in the U.S.’s capital city carries the powerful message that the fight against plastic waste is a thoroughly American fight. We at OkStraw welcome our fellow Americans in Washington, D.C. to the Cause for Paper Straws!