Would you believe that the research of a 9-year old is responsible for the first major U.S. city to ban plastic drinking straws?
The law includes a fine of $250 for all violators, is based largely on the unofficial research of Milo Cress, then 9, who conducted a “Be Straw Free Campaign” hosted on a website called Eco-Cycle. Cress conducted phone surveys of straw manufacturers in 2011 to come up with the figure that 500 million straws are thrown out each day,Reason reported.
Cress did national TV, toured various media outlets and did tons of press.
The Seattle ban, which went into effect Sunday, is an “environmentally friendly move that leaders hope will spark a nationwide conversation about small, everyday changes that people can make to protect the planet” per the Washington Post.
The paper adds: “Now customers at grocery stores, restaurants, food trucks, even institutional cafeterias have to find another way to get liquid into their mouths. Compostable paper and plastic straws are allowed under the ban.”
The Post notes the law is not so much about punitive measures as it’s about “raising awareness.”
But this celebratory recap aside, here are a few points to consider. First, there’s the question of just how many straws are being thrown out every day in the U.S. The simple answer is: No one actually has a solid number on that, despite this claim that it’s 500 million per day, implying that every man, woman and child in the U.S. drinks on average more than one drink with a straw per day.