Could this be the last straw for one California city?
Officials in Berkeley, Calif. introduced an ordinance Tuesday that would ban plastic straws at restaurants and coffee shops throughout the Bay Area city because of their "detrimental effect" on the environment, KPIX reports.
The three City Council members who co-sponsored the ordinance want restaurants and coffee shops to use biodegradable plastic-alternatives, such as corn or paper, according to KPIX.
The city has pushed for similar bans in the past, previously moving to prohibit single-use plastic bags.
The plastic straw ban is just one step as part of a larger move by the city to reach a Zero Waste Goal by 2020, according to SF Gate.
Estimations by the National Park Service suggest Americans use half a billion straws a day with some of this waste winding up in waterways and on beaches, with straws being the fifth-most found trash on the beach, according to SF Gate.
Businesses are concerned, however, about the added cost of providing environmentally-friendly straws. A plastic straw only costs a penny, whereas a paper straw is about eight times more expensive, SF Gate reports.
Berkeley Councilwoman Sophie Hahn says there are alternatives, suggesting businesses could pass the cost on to the consumer, she told KPIX.
While other cities in the state of California are also considering a plastic straw ban, Berkeley would be the first if the ordinance is passed. Currently, the city of Davis has a law requiring restaurants to ask customers if they’d like a straw rather than providing one first, SF Gate reports.
Despite mixed feelings about plastic straw alternatives, Berkeley city leaders believe the ban will pass early 2018.