Amel Ahmed, KQED
Oakland is now the latest Bay Area city to consider a proposal to bar food vendors from serving plastic straws unless requested.
Councilmember Abel Guillen, who introduced the proposal in March, says the legislation is part of broader effort in the city to reduce environmental waste. In 2006, Oakland adopted a policy called the Zero Waste Strategic Plan, which aims for a 75 percent reduction by 2010.
“To make further progress on our waste-reduction goals and shift our culture away from single-use products, my ordinance will focus on ‘by request only’ use and better enforcement of existing legislation,” said Guillen in a statement.
Berkeley is considering similar legislation that would go one step further by banning single-use plastic straws altogether. Meanwhile straw-upon-request ordinances are already in place in Alameda, Davis, Manhattan Beach and Santa Cruz.
Local environmental advocates say that anti-plastic straw ordinances would eliminate a key source of pollution in San Francisco Bay.
“Plastic straws and stirrers are big culprits in trashing San Francisco Bay and our oceans,” David Lewis, the executive director of Save the Bay, told the San Francisco Chronicle last year.