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Plastic Straw Bans

Plastic Bag Bans

The plastic straw ban has everybody in frenzy mode because some of us need straws. California is closer to a ban on plastic straws at full-service restaurants. Some scientists hope the idea will spread across the United States just like the plastic bag ban. That particular ban caught on in a very fundamental way. The vote passed 45-20. California is a major trendsetter as history has proven. The plastic bag ban happened in 2014 from Governor Jerry Brown. The plastic bag ban has succeeded somewhat since cloth bags are an easy replacement but straws are more difficult to just phase out.

Buying a bag is another industry entirely. There is such a thing as biodegradable paper straws, but who knows where that leaves the tapioca tea industry? (Huffington Post) They need big straws to eat the tapioca. Seattle has banned single-use plastic straws as well as plastic eating utensils. Starbucks is trying to eliminate 11,000 straws a year, because of the attempts Seattle has made to ban the common use of the plastic straw. A report by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum states that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean rather than fish.

Metal straws are an alternative to plastic straws because they come in the materials aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. Metal straws are a great alternative to plastic. As far as plastic bags go, Chicago uses a 7-cent plastic fee on all carryout bags. Plastic bag manufacturers don’t like this rule though as they are often suing cities for implementing plastic bag bans. For them, it is bad for business. They do not want to stop manufacturing plastic bags. This is deadly for cities that lose money over the plastic bag ban since they need to have a resource available for people who grocery shop.

Grocery store unions oppose plastic bag bans. This causes conflict between the store and the plastic manufacturers. Stores would like to make sure customers get cloth bags or paper bags. In San Jose, California, reusable bag use increased (Huffington Post). Plastic industry groups are fighting these environmentalist measures. LA County has a bag law on the books, banning plastic and charging 10 cents for paper. California is willing to use reusable bags given that California is progressive while other states are not as progressive. Plastic is destroying our oceans. The selfish nature of people who still want to use plastic does not factor into their need to continue the plastic industry. They are as bad as people who use fossil fuels instead of ethanol.

These people hold tightly to the past. City Council in New York passed a minimum 5-cent fee on all carryout bags. Metal straws are not that bad, and cloth bags do help the environment quite a bit. The author of California’s plastic straw limits is Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), recording 835,000 straws found between 1988 and 2014. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans dispose of 33 million tons of plastic in 2014. This plastic consumption needs to stop. We are destroying our planet in the process.

If the human race is to survive our own self-destruction, we have to follow our own rules as best we can. Oppositions feel that California need not make things difficult for businesses. Plastic exposure can trigger cancer after all, but the Republicans worry about the impact on businesses, saying that the state of California is a “nanny state” (Los Angeles Times). The human race has to do what it can to survive. Plastic companies had better think twice before suing cities. The first and second violations would receive mere warnings while offenders would face a fine of $25 a day. Starbucks plans on removing plastic straws in two years. We will have to learn to live with metal straws and reusable cloth or paper bags.