Madison, Wisconsin Could Be the Newest City to Restrict Plastic Straws

Madison, Wisconsin could soon be the latest in a rapidly growing list of cities across the US that are banning or restrict single-use plastic straws. Alderman Syed Abbas is planning to introduce a bill to City Council, which if passed, will ban restaurants from handing out plastic straws to customers, unless specifically requested. This law will be similar to ordinances passed by cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego, along with the states California and Oregon.

Ald. Abbas aims to submit the bill to Madison’s City Council on August 6th, where it would pass through several committees before being voted on. Under this new law, customers in dine-in restaurants will need to specifically ask for a straw. Take-out and drive-thru restaurants will still be allowed to serve plastic straws, however, and paper straws so far will not be restricted from this proposed law. 

Ald. Abbas is seeking a mutually beneficial outcome for sustainability advocates, local businesses, and disability rights representatives.

Restaurants in other US cities are already switching to paper straws

Abbas explained that his proposed single-use plastic straw restriction is to encourage people to be more cognizant about their plastic straw use, and encourage them to skip using plastic straws if they do not require them. Abbas argued for the economic benefits of requiring customers to ask for plastic straws, citing a local restaurant that saved 1,500 dollars in straws after only offering them on request. Some bars and restaurants in the US are already doing this, but with paper straws on request instead of plastic straws, going the extra mile to cut out as much plastic as possible.

Ald. Syed Abbas’ proposal so far has been met with positive responses from members of Madison’s business communities and disability rights advocates, with whom he was meeting in order to ensure people who need straws will still have access to them. Ald. Abbas is seeking a mutually beneficial outcome for sustainability advocates, local businesses, and disability rights representatives.   

A ban on plastic straws in Madison will announce that the fight against plastic waste is not just a coastal fight, it is an American fight.

As more cities and states are moving toward bans and restrictions, and with high quality paper straws available as viable alternatives, now is the perfect time for Madison, Wisconsin to implement Ald. Abbas’ single-use plastic straw bill. A ban on plastic straws in the Heartland city of Madison will announce that the fight against plastic waste is not just a coastal fight, it is an American fight.

With talks in Minnesota’s state legislature to ban plastic straws, and Chicago voters’ support for a plastic straw ban, Madison has the chance to take the initiative, and lead the fight against plastic straw waste in the Upper Midwest. While some businesses may be worried that they will not be able to easily serve up some drinks without plastic straws available, the quality of paper straws keeps going up, making them a viable solution. The next time you go to Madison, you might just see a paper straw served up in your glass of pop.

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