Restaurant employees could face up to six months jail time for giving out straws.
On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council unanimously passed a bill that bans employees of bars, restaurants and any food service business from giving plastic straws to their customers.
“Plastic stirrers and utensils could still be legally provided, but only if customers request them,” reported Reason. In September of 2017, Seattle became the first major metropolis to pass this kind of legislation. The Seattle straw ban was implemented earlier this month.
Under the Seattle ban, if a customer asks for a straw, the straw must be both compostable and biodegradable. Violators of the Seattle ban will be fined $250.
Reason.com describes the Santa Barbara ban as “likely the most severe straw ban in the country.” Violators of the Santa Barbara ban will face up to six months of jail time or $1000 fine. “Santa Barbara has banned not only plastic straws, but also compostable straws,” reports National Review Online (NRO). Furthermore, each illegal straw is an individual fraction. So for example, if a waitress gives out to two illegal straws, she could face up to a year or jail time or a $2000 fine.
Furthermore, the impact that this legislation will have on the environment is minimal. “Straws on average weigh so little—about one sixty-seventh of an ounce or .42 grams—that all those billions of straws add up to only about 2,000 tons of the nearly 9 million tons of plastic waste that yearly hits the waters,” reports AP.
On July 9th, Starbucks joined in on the straw hating, announcing that they would be eliminating the use of the plastic straw. “Starbucks has designed, developed and manufactured a strawless lid, which will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages,”according the press release put out by Starbucks.
The irony is that Starbucks will actually end up using more plastic by eliminating the straw, according to a report by Reason.