Beginning July 1, Seattle has prohibited food service businesses -- including restaurants, food trucks, coffee shops, grocery stores, delis, and cafeterias -- from providing customers with plastic utensils, plastic straws, or plastic cocktail picks. Seattle has become the first major US city to enact a plastic straw and utensil ban, though there are similar bans in Santa Cruz County and Malibu.
However, restaurants have options if they'd still like to offer customers an option for straws or utensils. Compostable and "durable" alternatives are allowed. That include metal straws and utensils. Though, businesses can only provide these items at the request of the customer.
The ban takes aim at pollution, particularly the presence of micro-plastics in the ocean. Greenpeace says 40% of plastics in the ocean come from single-use items. Seattle's ban arrived on the first day of the Plastic Free July initiative, which encourages the use of alternatives to single-use plastics such as bags, straws, and cups.