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New York State Plastic Straw Ban Info & Alternatives

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New York state is currently debating a law banning single-use plastic straws. The law is still being discussed, so the exact details remain in question.

Since we can’t go in-depth about the New York state plastic straw ban, we’ll have to look at other laws passed in the state. Conveniently, New York City council passed a law in 2018 that bans plastic straws unless requested. The statewide bill will likely be similar.

New York State Plastic Straw Ban

The New York state plastic straw ban is Senate Bill S1505. Legislators introduced the proposal in early 2021, and talks are still in the committee phase. When a bill is in the committee phase, it can die, meaning it doesn’t get voted on.

According to the language in the bill, all restaurants (including fast-food restaurants) must not distribute plastic straws or splash sticks unless the customer requests some.

The law also makes it illegal for food establishments to ask why plastic straw is needed. If the establishment offers compostable straws, they must also have the facilities to accept the straw back and compost it.

New York state will enforce this law by allowing local health inspectors to distribute fines. The first offense carries a $250 fine, but the penalty increases to $300 on the second infraction. Every additional violation levies a $500 fine.

Since the bill is still relatively new, looking at a current policy may make more sense. New York City has a ban on plastic straws and similar products such as plastic stirrers that will help figure out what this future reality may entail. 

New York City Plastic Straw Ban

New York City passed a single-use straw ban in 2018 that came into effect in November 2021. The law, introduced by councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer made it illegal for restaurants, bars, and other establishments to give plastic straws and splash sticks to their customers without first requesting it.

New York City enforces the law with help from its inspectors in the NYC Department of Sanitation, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection.

If a restaurant gets caught distributing plastic straws, they will get a fine. The fines are:

  • $100 for the first offense
  • $200 for the second offense
  • $400 for every offense after

Sugarcane Straws vs. Paper Straws 

When it comes to plastic straw alternatives in New York, businesses have many options. They could use wood, metal, or bamboo straws. Some of these straws are single-use, while others are reusable. 

But reusable straws are an added cost to business owners, which is why so many business owners have opted to use paper straws. I would pick almost any material if it were my drink. 

Paper straws are not structurally sound. They become soggy within an hour or two of being inserted into your drink, meaning they become useless. That time shrinks when you’re drinking hot or cold beverages too.

So what alternative do business owners have? One of the best new options for straws is sugarcane. These impressive straws use the byproducts of sugar manufacturing to create 100% biodegradable straws free from plastic waste.

One of the best parts of sugarcane straws is how strong they are. They can withstand both hot and cold beverages without disintegrating. Once you insert a sugarcane straw into your drink, you’ll have hours to enjoy it before it goes soggy. 

Not only are sugarcane straws able to withstand liquids, but they also taste good. Unlike paper straws, which use bleached paper, sugarcane straws offer a less awkward experience by eliminating the weird aftertaste. Sometimes, there is even a slight sweetness that is quite pleasant. Don’t worry, though—they won’t totally change the taste of your beverage. 

Not only that, but sugarcane straws are so much better for the environment. Typically, they use the leftover sugarcane fibers to create their straws. Paper straws often use virgin trees, which leads to even more deforestation and habitat loss. 

Consider a Switch to Sugarcane Straws

If you’re a business owner or food service worker in New York looking to beat the pack, consider switching to sugarcane straws. The law is not in effect yet, but it very well could be soon. Once it does, there will be a rush for the best types of biodegradable or reusable straws.

Since plastic straws will be banned soon, it’s better to switch now. If you don’t, you might be forced to use paper straws because your business has no other option. Once you use a sugarcane straw, you’ll see how much better they are than their paper counterparts.

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