Union City to Ban Plastic Straws

Union City is set to be the newest municipality in California set to ban plastic straws. Citing the need to reduce litter and plastic waste in waterways, the City Council passed the bill unanimously. Taking effect on Jan. 1, 2020, the law requires businesses to only hand out compostable paper straws on request.

In addition to banning plastic straws, the law requires businesses only hand out disposable foodware on request. This list includes paper napkins, single-use takeout containers, and cutlery. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we’re excited to see another city in our home state move away around plastic. 

Plastic straws are no longer welcome in Union City
union-city-plastic-straws-ban
Union City's Council passed the ban unanimously.

Implementing the Plastic Straw Ban

Union City’s plastic straw ban follows other Bay Area cities, including Palo Alto, Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland, and San Francisco. In addition to local bans, the State of California already restricts plastic drinking straws to an upon-request basis. Union City’s plastic straw ban will affect about 200 businesses, who will need to use compostable alternatives.

 

While the plastic straw ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, Union City won’t begin enforcing it until July 1. Giving a 6-month grace period will allow businesses to deplete their plastic supply, and acquire paper straws. According to city staffers, Union City wants to work with violating businesses to make them compliant, rather than fining them. In the coming months, city staffers will visit each business, and discuss how to comply with the plastic straw ban. 

Quality Paper Straws For Union City

While Union City will work with businesses to switch over, not everyone is excited with the plastic straw ban. Even with more bans driving demand up, paper straws often cost more than plastic. At OkStraw, we understand cost concerns, and that’s why we offer premium paper straws at affordable prices. With factory-direct pricing for our paper straws, choosing OkStraw makes great financial sense. 

 

Although Union City businesses supported banning plastic straws, they didn’t think their customers would. City staffers cited customers unhappy with collapsed, soggy paper straws. These stories are all-too familiar with us at OkStraw, and they’re because of low quality paper straws. Unlike other inferior paper straws, OkStraw’s 3-ply paper straws last 3 hours, and our 4-plies at least 5!

 

Low quality paper straws have no place hurt the consumer experience
OkStraw Paper Bendy Straws are true alternatives to plastic.

Last Stand for Bendy Plastic Straws

Although otherwise comprehensive, Union City’s ban will still allow plastic bendy straws for people with disabilities. Disability rights advocates previously criticized plastic bans, because many people with disabilities need bendy straws to drink. Without any viable paper alternatives, plastic straws held on.

Until now, that is, because OkStraw’s Bendy Paper Straws deliver the final blow to their plastic foe. Our Bendy Paper Straws are ADA-compliant, making them a top choice for people who need them. With OkStraw ADA-compliant paper straws, Union City can both be inclusive, and be 100-percent plastic straw free.

Here's to a Plastic-Free Future

We’d like to commend Union City for taking the big leap to give plastic straws the boot. Thanks to affordable and strong paper straws from companies like OkStraw, making the switch won’t be hard. Whether you serve bubble tea, slushies, or need ADA-compliant bendy paper straws, OkStraw has you covered.

With Union City joining the party, the Bay Area looks poised to ditch plastic straws altogether. At OkStraw, we’re calling out for folks across the US to say farewell to plastic straws, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

Not all Paper Foodware is Created Equal

With more public opposition and more crackdowns on single-use plastics, eco-friendly disposable sales are booming. It seems like every day, a new company claims its products will heal this plastic-contaminated world. 

Not all of these so-called eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics are better for the planet, however. Some companies take shortcuts with their products, and under closer scrutiny, these eco-friendly claims start crumbling. Unlike OkStraw Paper Straws, which stands behind its eco-friendly products, these companies fall well short.

The PFAS Menace

Some of companies selling fiber bowls for soups and salads market them as eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic bowls. Many of these paper bowls, however, contain polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS chemicals are human made, and will never break down in the natural environment. Once PFAS chemicals enter the environment, they’re there forever.

What’s worse, if PFAS-laced materials mix with compostable materials, they will stop everything from breaking down. These facts truly shock and appall us at OkStraw Paper Straws. If there are PFAS chemicals in fiber bowls, then what other paper foodware products contain them? How many inferior paper plates, paper straws and takeout containers out there contain PFAS? At OkStraw, we believe shortcuts like this both endanger the environment, and hurt the cause against plastic. 

Finding a company that stands behind its eco-friendly claims is more important than ever.​

Reusable Single-Use Plastic?

News like this makes people think eco-friendly products are no better for the planet than single-use plastics. They might say that plastic straws can be recycled, so they are actually better than paper straws. Let’s hold on for a minute, because this argument misses the point. 

 

Yes, single-use plastics are TECHNICALLY reusable, but they almost never are. Plastic straws are too thin and flimsy to hold up long term, and most facilities can’t recycle them. Not only this, but plastics never truly decompose. They break apart into tiny pieces, or microplastics. These microplastics are now in the water we drink, the food we eat, and even the air we breathe. We need truly biodegradable, eco-friendly products that kick our addiction to plastic once and for all.

OkStraw Never Compromises

Finding a company that stands behind its eco-friendly claims is more important than ever, but where? Where do you find a company that truly stands behind its biodegradable claims? OkStraw knows making real eco-friendly product leaves no room for shortcuts. That’s why at OkStraw Paper Straws, we go the distance, and never compromise our mission of sustainability.

OkStraw’s paper straws are PFAS free, and are made from organic paper, food dye, and glue. Unlike inferior BFAS-containing products, our paper straws won’t interfere with other properly biodegradable foodware. Should an OkStraw paper straw end up in the ocean or on the ground, it won’t stick around for long. 

Paper Straws that Protect the Planet

OkStraw’s paper straws also carry the organic composting company Cedar Grove’s seal of approval. Cedar Grover is a member of the nationwide Composting Manufacturing Alliance (CMA). CMA’s partners rigorously field test biodegradable foodware, ensuring these products truly compost in the natural world. OkStraw doesn’t just talk a good game about making biodegradable paper straws. We have the credentials to prove it. 

We make our paper straws from materials that exist in this ecosystem, not from fossil fuels or synthetic chemicals. OkStraw’s paper straws are born from our living planet, and when they reach the end of their service life, they return to it. With OkStraw Paper Straws, there are neither shortcuts nor compromises. Just strong American quality.

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!

South Australia Seeks New Single-Use Plastics Ban

 

The state of South Australia will soon lead the country’s fight against single-use plastic waste, with a new piece of legislation being proposed. Environment minister David Speirs announced on July 6th that the state’s ruling Liberal Party will draft a bill to ban plastic straws, cutlery and drink stirrers before the end of 2019. The party aims to submit the bill to the state’s parliament by 2020, where it can then be voted into law. If this bill becomes law, South Australia will be the first state in Australia to ban such single-use plastic items.

In addition to banning plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery, South Australia’s government is also looking to phase out plastic cups, polystyrene takeout containers and cups, and thicker reusable plastic bags. These proposed new bans are not South Australia’s first efforts at limiting single-use plastic waste. The state banned lightweight plastic bags in 2009, and since then, all but one Australian state has enacted the same bans. If passed, South Australia’s proposed restrictions on heavier reusable plastic bags will be the strictest in the country.

South Australia’s proposed bans on plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery is drawing praise from across the political aisle. Sarah Hanson-Young, a federal senator representing the Australian Greens, voiced her support for this legislation, citing the need to confront the country’s plastic waste problem. Senator Hanson-Young announced that her party plans to introduce a nationwide plastics ban to the Australian federal Senate in Canberra within the next few months. 

 

Australia has previously avoided dealing with its recycling problem by simply sending its trash and plastics to countries in East Asia

This newest legislation comes at a time when Australia is contending with a looming plastic crisis. South Australia’s Green Industries department estimates that 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans each year, or the equivalent of the contents of one fully loaded garbage truck every minute. If this amount of plastic waste dumped does not change, the department estimates that by the year 2050, there will be more plastics in our oceans than fish.

Adding to this global plastic crisis is Australia’s badly inadequate recycling program. A study by the University of Technology Sydney estimates that only one third of plastic packaging waste in Australia gets recycled. In 2018, an estimated 600,000 of Australia’s 900,000 tons of plastic waste went unrecycled. Australia has previously avoided dealing with its recycling problem by simply sending its trash and plastics to countries in East Asia. More countries however have decided that they no longer want to take in Australia’s trash.

An Indonesian customers officer displays a tabloid newspaper among the trash imported from Australia

With an inadequate recycling system and fewer countries willing to accept its trash, Australia must take swift and decisive action to limit the amount of plastic it uses.

Malaysia recently announced that it was sending back 100 tons of Australia’s waste, because it was falsely labelled as being recyclable, it was rotten, or it was too contaminated to be safely recycled. China is also refusing to take in any more of Australia’s trash. China previously bought 50 percent of recyclables Australia collected, but a new law passed by Beijing means that 99 percent of these materials can no longer be imported into the country. 

India and Indonesia have also refused to allow Australia to send its trash to them. Indonesia announced this month that it is sending back 8 shipping containers full of recyclable material, after government inspectors declared the material too contaminated. India’s new plastic imports ban will also effectively stop Australia sending any more of its plastic waste to the country. With more countries refusing to accept its garbage, Australia is facing the consequences of its poor recycling performance.

 

With a poor recycling record and less countries willing to accept its trash, Australia must take swift and decisive action to limit the amount of plastic it uses. South Australia’s proposed ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery is a much-needed initiative to take in leading the country’s fight against plastic waste, and embracing more sustainable alternatives. 

Two Coastal Israeli Cities to Ban Single-Use Plastic from Their Beaches

Two of Israel’s coastal cities, Herzliya and Eilat, have announced plans to ban single-use plastics from their beaches. Banned items include but are not limited to plastic bags, plastic straws, and plastic cutlery. Both cities will be joining a growing list of countries and municipalities around the world’s coasts that have passed similar bans on single-use plastics, including Peru, Chile, and several US states.

The city of Eilat, located on the Red Sea, intends to tackle plastic waste on its beaches through a two-stage plan. This plan includes educating and discouraging local businesses from using plastics, and then enforcing the ban on single-use plastics from its beaches. Plastic water bottles will be exempt from the ban, however. Eilat’s city hall also plans to organize a campaign to raise awareness among residents and visitors about the harmful effects of plastic on marine life and coral reefs. For Eilat, banning single-use plastics from its beaches will be crucial to preserving its world-famous coral reefs that attract divers from around the world. Eilat’s ban on single-use plastics from its beach also coincides with Egypt’s Red Sea Governorate’s ban on all single-use plastics from its beaches by June. With authorities in two different countries announcing bans on single-use plastics from their beaches, there may be a chance for a more aggressive push to eliminate plastic waste from the Red Sea. Eilat is also collaborating with governmental agencies and organizations to educate visitors, residents and business owners about the harmful effects of plastic waste through social media campaigns and billboards.

Herliya’s ban on single-use plastics from its Mediterranean beaches is part of a joint initiative between its local government and the Israeli environmental organization Zalul (“clear”), launched on January 2018. Herzliya’s mayor Moshe Fadlon intends to make his municipality the starting point for a mission to ban single-use plastics across Israel. Fadlon plans to create a ripple effect by encouraging other cities to follow Herzliya, and eventually introducing a national law in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, which will prohibit single-use plastics from the entire country. Israel’s government has taken notice of the growing concern over the harmful effects of plastic on the world’s waters. The Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry’s data estimates that plastics comprise 90 percent of trash in marine environments, with nearly 60 percent of that waste coming from trash thrown onto beaches. The ministry is also looking into investigating how much of the amount of plastic on Israel’s beaches comes from other countries, and how much of that amount is generated within the country. Plastic waste has a tremendous impact on the environment. Not only does plastic waste hurt or kill marine animals and birds that mistake it for food, but this waste can break down into micro-particles that can migrate through the food chain and end up in human bodies.

The new ban on single-use plastics from the beaches of Herzliya and Eilat shows promise, as both cities are tackling plastic pollution in two major bodies of water, as well as taking the steps of raising national awareness through PR and policy campaigns. Should these efforts succeed, Israel may become a world leader in eliminating single-use plastic waste. Tourists visiting Israeli beaches may soon take out lunch from biodegradable fiber cartons, and enjoy their beverages with paper straws instead of their plastic counterparts.