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California banned plastic bags in November. Are plastic straws next in line?

The city of Berkeley is considering a ban on plastic drinking straws.
The city of Berkeley is considering a ban on plastic drinking straws. The Sacramento Bee file

First, California went after the plastic bags by voting to ban them statewide in November.

Could plastic straws be next single-use plastic item to fall?

The city of Berkeley is deciding whether it will create an ordinance banning drinking straws from restaurants and coffee shops. On Tuesday, the Berkeley city council met to discuss the recommendation.

If the ordinance passes, Berkeley would be one of the first cities in California to ban plastic straws, according to the East Bay Express.

The recommendation states that the Berkeley Community Environmental Advisory Commission and the Zero Waste Commission would work with business owners and store managers to get their input on the possibility of using straws made of alternative materials like paper or bamboo.

However, biodegradable straws cost up to eight times as much as plastic straws.

The ban may seem inconsequential, but the National Park Service reported that Americans use 500 million drinking straws each day. That’s enough to fill 125 school buses.

Berkeley councilmembers Susan Wengraf, Sophie Hahn and Ben Bartlett, the authors of the recommendation, said most drinks are served with plastic straws by default, even though they are “unnecessary.” They also said that the straws contain BPA and put “undue strain on the environment.”

While Berkeley would become one of the first cities in the state to officially ban plastic straws, it wouldn’t be the first city in the state to take measures to reduce waste from them.

In Davis, the city recently proposed ordinance that would require diners to request a plastic straw to come with their drink, rather than automatically offering one. If approved, the ordinance would go into effect Sept. 1.

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