Soon, Portland residents might see fewer plastic straws around town. On Wednesday night, the Sustainability and Transportation Committee approved a straw ordinance, which would limit the use of plastic straws in the city. The committee approved the ordinance 3-0, and the vote will now go before the full Council. The city currently uses 100,000 plastic straws daily, according to a press release from the city of Portland.
If the city council approves the ordinance, the following will go into place:
- As of April 1, 2020, food providers may only supply a plastic beverage straw, stirrer or splash stick on request.
- As of January 1, 2021, distribution of plastic beverage straws, stirrers and splash sticks would be prohibited.
Restaurants would also be able to supply non-plastic alternatives, including those made of paper, sugar cane, bamboo, pasta or metal.
Plastic straws are not recyclable and have been the source of debate in the sustainability conversation. The discussion around plastic straws has also largely focused on people with disabilities, who might need straws to drink from a glass. The new ordinance would allow restaurants and stores to provide plastic straws with customers who need and request them.
The ordinance will go to council for a first reading on October 7 and for a final vote on October 21.