I agree about the straws as they're superfluous. but utensils?
@1: Nobody is asking us to eat our teryaki with our fingers. Restaurants can use compostable utensils. They have had compostables at my office for years, and I can barely tell the difference.
@1 -- I would assume they will simply switch to wood. Wooden utensils and paper straws will become a lot more common.
@2 ooooo kayyy.
I eagerly await the post in which Charles breaks the news that the paper straws in white neighborhoods have handles on them, but the paper straws in nonwhite neighborhoods do not.
Isn't that the British Princess what's-her-name in the photo?
@3 How was the ban on plastic bags not effective?

Hasn't anyone in Seattle ever heard of recycling?

Here in Detroit we've had a $0.10 deposit on glass plastic and aluminum cans and bottles for decades.
That's worked very well for a very long time.

Do any of you really believe that wooden utensils and paper straws are going to be more environmentally sound than recycling?
I haven't seen a plastic bag at Fred Meyers since the ban. Where are these bags? They used to be free for the taking--now everyone charges for paper bags.

Also: Vancouver has cleaner streets because their fine for littering (and not picking up dog poop) is four figures.
@10 - Take-out utensils won't be made of wood, they'll be made of compostable "plastic". Many already are. However, I personally find this very confusing as throwing something that feels like "plastic" into the compost is counter-intuitive. But maybe that's just me, and I'll adapt.

As for paper, once industrial hemp comes fully online (farms are already growing it in WA), we can make paper from hemp, not trees. And probably compostable plastic from hemp oil too!

And aww... yeah I miss Michigan and their 10-cent bottle/can deposit... That is an awesome system that also went some distance to reducing homelessness, since you could pay rent just picking cans on a college campus.

@2 - You lost me at "Nazi Social Democratic Mafia "...

On a City Council Enviro Policy related note-- Can we have restaurants stop wasting fresh water by automatically serving --and constantly refilling-- customers' glasses? Just give water when it's asked for, or provide it in a refillable bottle & let people serve themselves.

People almost always leave a restaurant with completely full glasses of water sitting on their tables, which just get poured down the drain. Multiply that by all restaurants in the greater Seattle area, and we're talking probably hundreds or thousands of gallons a day. Seems like low-hanging fruit to me.

Straws are too small for most automated sorting systems used in municipal recycling plants. You can put them in your recycling bin, but when they get to the recycling center they'll fall through the mesh and end up in a landfill, along with a lot of other small items (like metal bottlecaps).

A $0.10 deposit on straws would be hilarious, let's do one for candy wrappers and chip bags, too! And paper receipts!

@11 Do you think these things just instantaneously transmute into money when the homeless person gives them to the Deposit Fairy?
@10 There in Detroit you have a 15% recycling rate,
Here in Seattle we have a 60-70% recycling rate.
We also have a composting mandate.
So, uh, yeah, we've heard of recycling and our city is one of the green leaders in the country.

Unfortunately the problem with plastic is not just in the waste. It's in the production.
Granted, I am an old, old, person. But I remember when we had paper straws. Haven't thought of them in years. They always had them at ice cream shops.
@14 - Have you ever lived in a place with a 10-, 5-, or even 2.5-cent deposit on bottles and cans? You take the empty bottle or can to a place that sells them, like a grocery store, or a liquor store, and give them the bottle/can. They count them, give you a receipt with #bottlecans x deposit-rate = $ amount, you take receipt to the cashier, the cashier gives you that amount of money. (Or deducts it from whatever you are also buying at the time.)
So yes, these things to instantly transmute into cash. It's pretty satisfying, actually.

(I don't know what @10 was talking about by implying a 10-cent deposit straws & plastic sporks, that would be unworkable at best; perhaps he didn't really think that one through.)
What's Kate Middleton doing in Slog?
@18, yeah, here, when I was kid you would take bottles to the grocery store and get change...,long ago, early 1970's, White Center....
There's a handful of bars I frequent that stopped using plastic straws years ago. Makes sense—they're wasteful, fall into the drains causing all sorts of plumbing hassles, or just end up in our oceans (you've all seen the turtle video, right?). Wish they'd just do a city-wide ban on them here as well (pun!) so picky customers could stop asking for them.

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