Bye-bye Straws

     Fighting the bane of single-use plastics, Prince George‚Äôs County joins the battle against straws and stirrers.

         The county council voted unanimously to approve the council bill banning the sale or distribution of single-use plastic straws and stirrers in all county restaurants and retail establishments. Now it goes to county executive Angela Alsobrooks for approval.

         Single-use plastic is now squarely in the crosshairs for more and more cities, states and companies. It is estimated that 500 million straws are used in the U.S. every day. Much of that waste ends up in our waterways, where it becomes dangerous micro-plastics, persisting eternally and enticing marine life to ingest it.

         Straws have become one of the five dominant plastic pollutants in oceans over the past three years.

         The bill includes measures for education and outreach, enforcement and funding. The ban will take effect July 1, 2020. Fines for businesses not in compliance with this law will begin Jan. 1, 2021. There is an exemption for people with disabilities to request plastic straws at restaurants.