VIDEO: Berkeley moving closer to banning plastic straws in restaurants

 

BERKELEY (KRON) — The Berkeley City Council is moving closer to banning the use of plastic straws in restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.

And some businesses are already ahead of the curve.

For David Doostan, there’s nothing awkward about being served a metal straw at lunch.

“We actually have glass and metal straws at home,” Doostan said.

On the other hand, some say prohibiting plastic straws would be a stretch.

“I think it’s going too far,” Quinton Boyette said.

Doostan says the Berkeley City Council made the right decision Tuesday night, voting unanimously to explore creating an ordinance to ban plastic straws citywide.

“Anything that is disposable, that can be…reduced…is useful,” Doostan said.

At Saul’s Restaurant & Delicatessen, customers can choose from two different types of eco-friendly straws.

One is stainless steel, and the other is a compostable plastic that is actually made from plants.

“Right now, I can’t justify it economically,” Saul’s owner Peter Levitt said. “I just do it because it just feels right.”

Levitt owns Saul’s and says more than seven years ago, he stopped using plastic straws and replaced them with paper, metal, and compostable plastic straws.

It is an expensive investment that just now may be paying off.

“The stainless steel straws are about $2.50 each,” Levitt said. “So, at the cost of an old-school plastic straw, you’d have to use this 2,500 times to pay for it, compared to the use of a plastic straw.”

Councilman Ben Bartlett co-sponsored the proposed ban on plastic straws.

“It’s about two things: litter, which ends up in our waterways, choking up our waters, and in the ocean, and there in the waters, the fish eat it,” Bartlett said. “So, our food supply is threatened by this.”

Bartlett says if banning plastic straws becomes the norm, that may drive the cost down of alternatives.

“I think the economy of scale will come into play soon so that new forms of straws will come out but are actually cheaper or at least comparative to straws we have now,” Bartlett said.

“We want to do whatever helps this earth,” supporter of the ban Amir Randall said.

“I’m going to recycle it, throw it in the blue garbage can at school,” Boyette said. “That’s about it.”

Bartlett says he wouldn’t be surprised if the proposed ban returns to the council from the commission in a few months, gets approved by the council, and becomes law.

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