Straws by request will create environmental impact

New amendment important to uphold


Sophie Livingston

Art by Sophie Livingston. In an attempt to reduce straw waste and help the environment, the straws by request amendment was added to the Zero Waste Packaging Ordinance. The straws by request amendment went into effect Jan. 1.

In an attempt to reduce the amount of plastic used by consumers in St. Louis Park, the straws by request amendment was added to the Zero Waste Packaging Ordinance, which went into effect Jan. 1.

Under this amendment, food establishment personnel are required to wait for a customer to request a straw rather than give them the straw automatically.

The Echo Editorial Board believes there is no downfall to this amendment, as it is a good medium to prevent straw usage considering it doesn’t place a ban on straws altogether. Customers will still be able to use straws if they so choose to ask for one.

Although this amendment may seem to take minimal action in reducing plastic usage overall, this is an important step in beginning to initiate larger efforts to combat threats to our environment. If fewer people request straws, fewer straws will need to be produced, therefore reducing the amount of consumer waste.

Although the amendment went into effect Jan. 1, the city adopted these changes to the Zero Waste Packaging Ordinance beginning June 2019. With knowledge almost six months prior to activation, there is no excuse for a food establishment to bypass this legislation.

According to the Zero Waste Packaging Ordinance, the first violation of the amendment will result in a warning, followed by a fine of $100 for the second violation, and for every subsequent violation the fine will be doubled. Furthermore, for every violation that occurs, the food establishment will be given 14 days to take corrective measures before an additional fine is given.

The Board believes it is important for Park residents and students to participate in this action by speaking up and reporting food establishments that automatically give straws to customers. We urge students to be conscious of the environmental impact when deciding whether to ask for a straw, as the impact on the environment will be beneficial in the long run to prevent excessive plastic usage.