War on Plastics: Seattle Enacts City-Wide Ban on Straws, Utensils

Caleb Tolin | July 2, 2018
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Seattle has now become the first major city in the United States to ban certain single-use plastics.

Seattle’s ban on plastics began on July 1st and targets restaurants using items such as plastic utensils, plastic straws, and plastic cocktail picks.

Dune Ives, the Executive Director of environmentalism group the Lonely Whale Foundation, refers to these as “gateway plastics” and points out that more than 10 million tons of plastic enter our ocean every year in her blog.

The Lonely Whale Foundation recently ran a campaign called #stopsucking to encourage individuals to turn their back on "gateway plastics" for posing a threat to marine life around the globe.

California also has more than a dozen bills aimed at banning plastics such as plastic bags, plastic straws, and bottle caps, including one bill that would jail or fine waiters $1,000 for even offering a plastic straw to a restaurant patron.

The state has also passed a law charging for plastic bags at grocery stores. 

California's fight against plastic pollution and Seattle's ban on single-use plastics potentially open a new market for compostable alternatives.


Aardvark Straws would dominate the market as the only producer of FDA-compliant compostable paper straws in the United States.

"It's a wonderful thing right now to see this movement, but fortunately, or unfortunately, right now there is not another viable option other than Aardvark,” said David Rhodes, the company's global business director, USA Today reports.

This ban isn’t the first step Seattle has taken towards this initiative against plastic pollution. According to Seattle Public Utilities, “In 2008, the City of Seattle put in place an ordinance to require that one-time-use food service items, including packaging and utensils, be recyclable or compostable.”

Seattle is following an international trend in banning single-use plastics. Earlier this year, McDonald’s announced that they are banning plastic straws in their UK restaurants. The EU set an agenda to promote recyclable and reusable plastic packaging by 2030.

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