Italian Island of Capri Bans Plastic Straws

The global war on plastic waste keeps roaring on, and this Spring marked yet another victory. With mayoral approval, Capri’s local government banned single-use plastics from the island, including plastic straws. 

This tiny Mediterranean island joins other world-famous beachfront destinations that gave plastic the boot. With Capri banning items like plastic straws, the island’s visitors will soon get a taste of a plastic-free lifestyle. At atOkStraw Paper Straws, we’re elated to hear Capri say arriederci to single use plastics in favor for ecofriendly alternatives like paper straws!

Capri's Plastic Waste Problem

Located off the coast of Naples, Italy, Capri is legendary destination for international tourists and movie stars alike. Cliffside villages, designer boutiques and a sea cave adorn this Mediterranean gem. However, lurking beneath this beguiling surface lies a serious problem.

 

Capri hosts 2.3 million tourists every year, and every one of them leaves their plastic waste behind. With a population equivalent to Chicago visiting this tiny island every year, Capri is struggling to manage this plastic waste. As a result, Mayor Giovanni De Martino just approved a ban on all-single use plastics from the island. 

For a Sustainable Capritian Future

Capri’s single-use plastics ban covers plastic straws, water bottles, bags, cutlery, and stirrers. From now on, all single-use materials on Capri Island must be biodegradable. Otherwise, violators of the single-use plastics ban face fines of up to €500. Although the ban took effect on 1 May, Capri’s government gave local businesses a 90 days to comply

 

While it’s great to hear Capri reject single-use plastics, they would still be covered by another plastics ban. Capri is part of the European Union, which already pledged to phase out single-use plastics in all countries by 2021. Nevertheless, we at OkStraw Paper Straws believe Capri made the right decision to ban single-use plastics. 

Paper Straws for Capri Island

We at OkStraw Paper Straws share much in common with Capri’s residents. Much like Capri, our hometown San Diego is a world-famous destination. Likewise, hosting millions of visitors means we both have to deal with plastic waste. So rather than worry about dealing with plastic waste, why not do away with it? We think so, and that’s why San Diego banned single-use plastics.

 

Thanks to innovative companies like OkStraw Paper Straws, single-use plastic alternatives are here better than ever. OkStraw’s paper straws are fully biodegradable, making them compliant with Capri’s single-use plastics ban. OkStraw paper straws degrade naturally, and never contain harmful chemicals. Once an OkStraw Paper Straw does its job, it returns to the planet that bore it. On the island today, back to nature tomorrow, OkStraw’s paper straws are Capri’s newest ecotourists. 

 

India to Ban Single-Use Plastics

The Indian government just announced that it will ban disposable and single-use plastics. Taking effect on October 2nd, the ban outlaws plastic straws, packaging, bags, cups, and foodware. While several states like Maharashtra passed their own bans, this new law affects the entire country.

Plastic waste is a national crisis in India, but this ban goes a long way to solve it. As opponents of single-use plastic, OkStraw Paper Straws is happy to see India take action. OkStraw knows that drastic times call for drastic measures, and with this new ban, India has a greener future on its horizon.  

Plastic waste hurts animals like cows, which live in populated areas.

India's Single-Use Plastic Problem

India is a young, rapidly developing nation of 1.3 billion people, but it suffers from pollution. As a result, cities like Gurudam are among the world’s most polluted, and plastic waste is no better. Plastic waste kills India’s animals, destroys natural habitats, and threatens people’s health. Furthermore, microplastics are a major threat to India’s ecosystem, because they pollute the water, air and soil. 

People in India recycle a large portion of plastic, but it’s not enough to reduce plastic waste. In fact, estimates say that by 2022, the average Indian person will use nearly 50 pounds of plastic every year. That means no matter how much plastic India recycles, there will still be more polluting the environment. India needs extreme measures to solve this crisis, and we at OkStraw think a single-use plastics ban might be it. 

Modi's Campaign Against Plastic

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made fighting plastic waste and pollution a national issue. On August 15th, Modi asked Indians to reject single-use plastics, and plans to phase them out entirely by 2022. With his campaign, Modi wants to create a plastic-free legacy for 1.3 billion people. 

 

Banning single-use plastics nationwide won’t be easy, however, according to New Delhi-based columnist Archana Jyoti. Jyoti explains that India needs viable alternatives to replace single-use plastics, and people need to abide by the law. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we understand this concern, but Indians need not fear, because sustainable solutions are already here. 

Prime Minister Modi vows to end plastic waste in India.

Solutions for a Plastic-Free India

Thanks to growing opposition to single-use plastic waste, biodegradable solutions are hitting the market. In this new market, Indian entrepreneurs are introducing natural, renewable solutions to single-use plasticsWe at OkStraw Paper Straws eagerly await to see new solutions to single-use plastics from India’s new entrepreneurs. 

OkStraw Paper Straws is no stranger to the struggle to create true plastic alternatives. We know the sleepless nights and the trial and error, because we’ve been there. In the end, we created paper straws for any drink, from boba tea to slushies. So while India’s single-use plastic ban shuts one door, it opens far more new doors for entrepreneurs. With each plastics ban, the market for compostable goods keeps growing. And now with 1.3 billion more people, the market just got a whole lot bigger!

McDonald’s “Unrecyclable” Paper Straws

McDonald’s recently admitted that the paper straws it rolled out last year in its UK and Ireland restaurants are not recyclable. This news marks the latest PR snag for the multinational restaurant corporation’s switch from plastic straws. 

McDonald’s replaced plastic straws with biodegradable paper straws at these restaurants in 2018, after other corporations stopped using plastic straws. The switch to paper was also necessary, as the UK government banned single-use plastic straws and drink stirrers. At OkStraw, we understand this issue, but we are not dissuaded from standing behind eco-friendly straws.

McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland is advising people to treat their new straws as waste items.

Using high quality paper straws is a must.

Paper Straw Struggles

McDonald’s paper straw switch had growing pains with its customers. People initially complained that these biodegradable straws were collapsing in milkshakes, and were dissolving too quickly. Photos of McDonald’s-branded drinks with bent, soggy and collapsed straws began spreading across social media platforms.

McDonald’s responded to these complaints by making their biodegradable paper straws thicker, but this caused new problems. These new straws were too thick to be recycled by waste processing machines. McDonald’s announced that it is working with its waste management providers to resolve this issue. Until then, however, McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland is advising people to throw their new straws in the trash.

Single-use plastic straws are almost never recycled

Real Cost of Biodegradable Straws

Critics pointed out that McDonald’s replaced recyclable plastic straws with non-recyclable paper straws. While this may be true in theory, in reality, single-use plastic straws are almost never recycled. Most recycling facilities cannot process plastic straws, because they are too flimsy. Plastic straws end up as trash, and often wreak havoc on our environment.

While some biodegradable straws are not easily recyclable, what they do to the environment is a world of difference from plastic straws. Organic paper that end up in waters safely biodegrades, and does not endanger animals. Plastic straws on the other hand will continue to endanger the wellbeing of marine animals and eventually humans. At OkStraw, we know the real cost of paper straws is far less than plastic straws.

Plastic straws can cause irreparable harm to the environment

McDonald's Sticks to Paper Straws

While some people want McDonald’s to bring back plastic straws, the company is holding steady to its paper commitment. With the UK’s plastic straw ban and growing public support for the ban, McDonald’s is on the right path. 

 

We at OKStraw would like to commend McDonald’s for committing to end plastic waste. Yes, they may face some disapproval, and there will be growing pains. Ultimately, however, the most important things in our lives are the ones worth fighting for. We only have one planet, and keeping it healthy might be the most important of all.

Oregon Plastic Straw Ban – Oregon Passes Single-Use Plastic Straw Law

2020 Plastic Straw Ban is Here

Starting in January 2020, Oregon has banned restaurants and bars from using plastic straws. Paper Straws are an alternative.

Oregon has followed California in becoming the second US state to enact restrictions on single use plastic straws. The measure was passed by the Oregon House of Representatives on May 29th, 2019, with a winning margin of 48-12. The new law will ban restaurants from providing single-use plastic straws unless customers request one, similar to California’s law. Restaurants can still provide customers with paper strawsr.

Drive-thru restaurants and pharmacies will still be allowed to offer straws, however. Addressing reporters, Oregon governor Kate Brown voiced her support for the new ban, citing a need to raise public awareness of the effects single-use plastics have on the environment, and encourage people to make sustainable changes to their lifestyles. 

As residents of an eco-conscious destination like Oregon, we at OkStraw Paper Straws know plastic waste is an economic disaster. After all, who wants to go to an Oregon beach  or forest if it’s littered with plastic?

Paper Straws are Ecofriendly Alternative to Plastic
Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Oregon Capital Building

These new restrictions on single-use plastic straws are the start of Oregon’s fight to reduce plastic waste.

Paper straws are a far safer option for protecting marine animals
Support Sea Animals with this fun Variety Pack!

Plastic Straw Ban Measure Passed Both Houses in Oregon

On the floor of the Oregon House, lawmakers discussed a widely viewed YouTube video from 2015, which shows scientists removing a plastic straw lodged in a sea turtle’s nostril. Republican lawmakers in the House however opposed the measure, arguing that there was no evidence that proved plastic straws used by Oregon residents were harming birds and sea turtles, and that the ban would simply introduce more bureaucracy. 

Other Oregon House Republicans did not oppose the ban, however, arguing that it does not outright prohibit customers from requesting plastic straws. They also supported a clause in the legislation that prevents cities such as Portland from passing plastic straw bans that go further than the new state law. 

A number of environmentalists however did not support these two exceptions to the new plastic straw law. As a result, some groups withdrew their support for the bill. These new restrictions on single-use plastic straws are the start of Oregon’s fight to reduce plastic waste. In the weeks following the plastic straw bill, the State Senate passed a new ban on single-use plastic shopping bags, with a 5-cent fee on reusable plastic and paper bags.

 

 

Plastic straw bans can encourage people to make more sustainable adjustments to their lives

Oregon’s new partial ban on plastic straws comes at a pivotal time in the fight for sustainability. The World Economic Forum has projected that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in Earth’s oceans than fish. 

Laws such as California’s and now Oregon’s can serve to make residents more cognizant of using any plastic item only once, and then throwing it away without thought. For businesses serving single-use foodware, paper straws, paper plates and paper takeout containers are a far more sustainable alternative to their plastic counterparts.

While they may seem small in impact at first, plastic straw bans can encourage people to make more sustainable adjustments to their lives. When more people take small steps like switching from single-use plastic straws to eco-friendly alternatives like paper straws, they can make bigger changes to their lifestyles that will lead to a healthier planet. 

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we encourage everyone to follow our lead, and ditch single-use plastics for biodegradable alternatives. We only use biodegradable, food grade materials to make our paper straws. From cocktails to bendy straws and boba bubble tea, there’s an OkStraw Paper Straw for every drink and everyone. So whether you’re out for drinks in Portland or sipping tea in Bend, ditch the plastic, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

Chicago Voters Say “Yes” to a Single-Use Plastic Straw Ban

On November 2018, Chicago residents voted “yes” to a measure asking them whether the city should ban single-use plastic straws, passing by an 11-point margin. Following the Election Day results, 15th ward Alderman Raymond Lopez announced his plan to introduce an ordinance for the Chicago City Council to vote on the ban. Businesses are taking notice, with Illinois Restaurants Association CEO and president Sam Toia expressing his members’ lack of surprise in the results.

Chicago-based restaurants, venues, museums and colleges have already switched from plastic straws to biodegradable alternatives like bamboo and paper straws. The Chicago White Sox banned plastic straws from their stadium, Guaranteed Rate Field, becoming the first Major League Baseball team in the country to do so. California-based food service company Bon Appetit announced that it will no longer offer plastic straws in its cafes and restaurants. Bon Appetit operates sites at the Art Institute of Chicago, suburban Wheaton College, and the University of Chicago. 

If the Chicago City Council follows up on the public’s vote and passes a ban, the city will become the third of America’s three biggest cities to restrict single-use plastics. The City Council of Los Angeles recently voted to prohibit restaurants from handing out plastic straws unless requested, and the municipal government of New York City will no longer purchase single-use plastics. New York’s Mayor Bill DeBlasio has backed a bill by City Council to prohibit plastic cutlery and other non-biodegradable, single-use foodware from restaurants located in the city. Chicago is a major hub for the agricultural and restaurant industry. Among these corporations is McDonald’s, whose headquarters are located in the city. A voter-supported ban on plastic straws in Chicago could send out a strong message to the food and beverage industry that opposition to single-use plastics is gaining more ground with each day, and major changes are inevitable.

How soon Chicago’s new Mayor Lori Lightfoot pushes for a vote on a plastic straw ban remains to be seen, however a ban seems sooner than later. Chicago struggles in its battle against single-use plastic waste. The Better Government Association reported that Chicago has the worst recycling rate of any U.S. city; just 9 percent of all residential waste collected gets recycled. Chicago is located on the shore of Lake Michigan, which is already littered with unrecycled plastic waste. Unrecycled plastic waste becomes trapped in the lake, where it gets swallowed by fish, and can eventually end up in the drinking water of residents in cities like Chicago. With low recycling rates and the health of Lake Michigan at stake, Chicago has many reasons to move away from single-use plastic straws, and embrace sustainable, biodegradable alternatives.