If you live in Seattle, you’ll no longer be able to sip iced coffee out of a plastic straw. On July 1, 2018, the west coast city became the first major city to ban plastic straws and utensils.
Seattle Public Utilities announced that all plastic utensils, plastic straws, and plastic cocktail picks cannot be used in food businesses, be it coffee shops or food trucks. Instead, they items must be made from durable or compostable materials (metal or paper, for example). Failure to comply results in a $250 fine.
The ban comes on the heels of another ordinance Seattle instituted in 2008, mandating that “one-time-use food service items, including packaging and utensils, be recyclable and compostable.” Plastic straws and utensils were previously exempt from this decree because alternatives were expensive or tricky to find, but now that there are adequate replacements, this ruling has changed.
The city has suggested a couple of ways for businesses to enforce the new practice: only hand over these new products at the request of the customer, and provide dispensers for customers to grab their own. Plus, businesses should have cans distinctly marked for recyclables and compostables, which should be filed for collection weekly.
As the world struggles to combat ocean pollution and other man-made environmental problems, this change is a small step in the right direction. Though other major cities like New York and Los Angeles have discussed similar legislation, Seattle is the first to enforce this kind of practice. Comparable bans exist in smaller places like California’s Malibu and Santa Cruz County and Fort Myers in Florida. The US is slowly catching up to the rest of the world: Scotland aims to have no plastic straws by 2019, Queen Elizabeth II has mandated that plastic straws and bottles are not allowed in royal estates, and Taiwan is in the process of eradicating single-use plastic products by 2030.
Other enterprises such as Plastic Free July invite people to reduce their plastic usage for a select period of time, choosing canvas bags, paper cups, and reusable straws instead of plastic options.
For those who don’t live in Seattle or a plastic-free city but want to do their part even when it’s not Plastic Free July, opt for toting around your own metal straws—they’re light, cheap, and dishwasher safe—or bringing your own bags to the grocery store or market.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.