At the end of June 2018, a Seattle ban on single-use plastic products like straws and utensils will take full effect. The measure was originally passed in 2008 but since exemptions had been made for products that didn’t have a doable alternative. Now city leaders believe there are enough viable options to enable the ban to be fully enacted because of the ever-growing availability of products like paper straws and compostable utensils. 

From the Seattle Times: “Seattle is believed to be the first major U.S. city to have enacted the 2008 ban on plastic grocery bags and other plastic items that began the city’s efforts to reduce plastic products from food industries that pollute waterways and endanger marine life, according to Seattle Public Utilities spokesman Andy Ryan.”

Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship was on hand to help publicize the upcoming ban. This Greenpeace ship studies micro-plastics in our oceans so it provided a perfect backdrop for this announcement.

While Seattle’s ban won’t solve all of our plastic waste problems, it is a big step in the right direction.

According to Greenpeace,

“Right now it is estimated that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic – everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads – ends up in our oceans each year. That’s a truckload of trash every minute.

Traveling on ocean currents, this plastic is now turning up in every corner of our planet, from Florida beaches to uninhabited Pacific islands. It is even being found trapped in Arctic ice.”

Greenpeace also says roughly 40 percent of plastics found in the ocean are from single-use plastics like straws and utensils.

So on July 1st 2018, the 5,000 permitted food service providers in Seattle will be banned from giving out single-use plastics. Great job Seattle! Now to get the rest of the world on board!

CBS News reports: “Yet the push to be plastic-strawless hasn’t been completely smooth, with some corporations resisting the effort. McDonald’s shareholders rejected a proposal to study a ban on plastic straws at their 37,000 eateries back in May. The fast food giant did, however, say that they would phase the straws out in the U.K. back in March.”