Consumer Watch

Movement to ban plastic straws underway

There is a movement underway to get rid of plastic drinking straws. Environmentalists say they can end up in the ocean hurting wildlife. Now some restaurants are trading plastic straws for paper and some cities are even banning them.

At the restaurant 'Sunday in Brooklyn' something is missing. You won't find any plastic straws, these colorful straws are actually made out of thick, durable paper. Owner Todd Enany says he banned plastic ones for environmental reasons.

"From time to time people do want that plastic straw but when we tell them the why behind it I think they change their mind a bit," says Todd Enany.

500 million plastic straws are used in the US everyday, according to the National Park Service. Environmentalists say they often end up in landfills or the ocean.

Celebrities have joined a campaign called Strawless Ocean to push consumers to stop using them.

Not only are some businesses getting rid of them, so are several cities. In Seattle a ban of plastic straws and utensils goes into effect in July. Malibu, California is making a similar move in June, but not everyone is happy about it. An eatery owner says alternatives like disposable wooden utensils are more expensive.

"We have to raise the prices, we don't want to do that but we have to," says Joel Ruiz.

Sunday in Brooklyn pays six cents more per straw for paper instead of plastic. Customer Jessica Beck thinks it's worth it and tastes the same.

"I actually don't notice a full difference," says Jessica Beck.

Manufacturers say paper straws will last about two to three hours in a drink before they start to disintegrate. 

The country of Scotland is looking to ban plastic straws as well.


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