San Francisco Joins Nationwide Fatwa Against Plastic Straws

REUTERS/Erik De Castro

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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San Francisco passed an ordinance Tuesday prohibiting local store fronts from selling or distributing plastic straws as more cities jump aboard a nationwide push to ban plastic materials.

If the ordinance passes the city’s Board of Supervisors on the second reading, it will then be presented to Democratic Mayor London Breed. The measure would effectively prevent restaurants from distributing plastic straws, caps and toothpicks starting July 1, 2019.

“This is about changing people’s behavior,” Supervisor Ahsha Safaì, who co-sponsored the measure, said in a statement Tuesday. “Do you really need to offer a straw with a glass of water?” The city’s potential ban comes on the heels of similar proposals elsewhere.

The U.K. will become the first country to ban plastic straws in hopes of saving the environment from plastic waste. England has already foisted excessive fees on plastic bags in the name of protecting the climate.

London, for its part, is also taking part in the campaign to ban items deemed too dangerous for use.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan cracked down in March on knife-carrying citizens in response to a spate of stabbings that pushed the city’s murder rate past New York’s for the “first time in modern history.”

Khan’s crusade against knives is in keeping with London’s belligerent position on weapons. The city has long mandated, for instance, strict licensing rules for shotguns and rifles and has effectively banned handgun ownership. (RELATED: ‘Significant Milestone’: Starbucks Joins The Anti-Straw Craze)

Khan deployed an additional 300 Metropolitan Police officers over the weekend to work exclusively against knife crime, urging them to be more “confident” in their authority to stop anyone suspected of carrying a weapon.

Vancouver issued a similar ban in May. City officials stated at the time that Canadians collectively throw away 57 million straws a day. The number is based on the 500 million straws a day Americans use, adjusted for Canada’s population.

A footnote to Vancouver’s measure confirming that number links to the recycling company Eco-Cycle, which has popularized this figure.

Eco-Cycle got the 500 million straws a day statistic from a 9-year-old named Milo Cress, who surveyed straw manufacturers to get their estimations of the size of the straw market. American citizens use about 175 million straws a day, according to market analysts.

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