Of course, it’s to protect the environment.
Oakland hasn’t seen this ordinance just once, no, this has been a long time coming for the city. Council member Abel Guillén has proposed this nearly enough times for straws to be damn near outlawed—though this ordinance would only facilitate single-use straws, Guillén is still very passionate about it.
“Plastic straws pose a long-term threat to marine life, waterways and natural habitats,” said Guillén to the press. “There are easy, convenient and economical ways around this environmental-health problem, like ‘straw on request only’ rules, and Oakland should be a leader in this effort.” But Guillen isn’t alone, this proposal stands in line with ordinances already passed in Davis and San Luis Obispo, where plastic straws are provided only upon customer request.
Business owners such as Tim Nugent, owner of Shakewell, says he supports a citywide policy. “It connects what makes good business practice with what’s good for our environment,” said Nugent. Shakewell already uses a straw-upon-request policy and switched to paper straws earlier this year as reported by Hoodline. Though some business owners don’t want to scare customers away with paper straws that break and melt in their drinks—various Oakland (and some San Francisco) cafe owners via Instagram stories are just not sold on the concept.
Could this be a good startup idea? As with an earlier ban on plastic bags, Guillén said he’s optimistic that businesses and the city of Oakland as a whole will see the positive consequences of the ordinance after it’s passed. “It’s a sensible policy that may actually help reduce costs and save time for businesses, and customers will welcome the positive ecological benefits,” he said.
// Thoughts on this? Let us know by tweeting us; Photography by Steve Buissinne