New York City is latest to consider banning plastic straws altogether

This could be the last straw for New Yorkers.

A bill to be introduced on Wednesday would ban plastic disposable straws in restaurants, bars and coffee shops across the Big Apple, and force businesses to adopt recyclable or reusable alternatives, The New York Times reported.

If passed, New York City would become one of only a few major cities across the United States to ban plastic drinking straws, along with Miami Beach, Seattle and Malibu, the latter two of which will enact their new regulations come July.

The bill would also reportedly ban coffee stirrers.

plastic straws

City councils in places like Malibu and Seattle have already voted to ban plastic drinking straws.  (Reuters)

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“It’s important for New Yorkers to understand that the plastic straw is not a necessity; it’s more of a luxury, and our luxury is causing great harm to other environments,” said Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr., the bill's main sponsor, the Times reported.

Espinal also claimed Americans throw away an estimated 500 million straws per day, amNewYork reported, although that statistic was already called into question last month, after NBC News cited the same dubioius finding based on research from a 9-year-old's boy's phone survey

Espinal added that customers and business owners in New York City should learn to embrace “paper straws, aluminum straws and bamboo straws that are much safer for our environment.”

metal straw

The new bill would require food vendors to forego straws, or offer reusable alternatives made from metal, paper or bamboo.  (Reuters)

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Councilwoman and bill supporter Helen Rosenthal added that after plastic bags and bottles, straws “are the next thing that’s just taking up space in our oceans,” per the New York Daily News.

The proposed bill would reportedly affect vendors who currently use plastic straws, across all businesses. Violators would be subjected to a $100 fine.

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A representative for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio could not confirm whether the politician supported the bill, but indicated that de Blasio is currently focused on legislation introduced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that would ban single-use plastic bags in the state, amNewYork reported.