A new bill being considered in the New York State Legislature would ban single-use plastic straws and drink stirrers at restaurants and bars.
As part of the legislation, the state would launch outreach efforts to help companies find alternatives to plastic straws. The bill is currently being considered in the Environmental Conservation Committee.
Some restaurants have already taken steps to get rid of plastic straws. Earlier this year, McDonald’s began testing the use of paper straws in the United Kingdom. However, recently, McDonald’s shareholders voted down a plan to examine the use of paper straws.
Just Thursday, food service company “Bon Appétit,” which works with colleges across the country, announced it would ban plastic straws.
“The plastic problem is horrific,” said Bon Appétit CEO and cofounder Fedele Bauccio in a statement. “When I heard the stats and learned how much damage is being done by straws — a product of convenience — my gut reaction was, we have to change this!”
The bill, introduced last week, follows similar legislation proposed by Governor Cuomo in April that would ban single-use plastic bags at stores.
For that legislation, the governor pointed to the impact plastic materials have on the environment.
However, critics, including Wegmans leaders, said switching to paper would come with unintended environmental consequences. In a release, the company said, “Paper bags are heavier and take up more space; it takes seven tractor trailers to transport the same number of paper bags as plastic bags carried by one tractor trailer. It also takes about 90 percent more resources and energy to make and recycle paper compared to plastic. Due to the chemicals used in the manufacturing process, paper is also very harmful to our waterways.”