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Ordinance to ban initial distribution of plastic straws, stir sticks moves to City Council

MADISON, Wis. – Monday at the Madison Municipal Building, the Sustainable Madison Committee discussed implementing a ban on plastic straws and stir sticks.

The ordinance would financially penalize restaurants, including coffee shops, cafeterias and sandwich stands, that don’​​​​​​t comply with the regulations. Restaurants would be able to have plastic straws available for customers, but they could only give them out if requested. They could also put the straws in an accessible place for customers to take voluntarily.

Officials considered that people with disabilities may not want to request a plastic straw, as this might make them feel singled out. Other concerns included how restaurants would be given citations. Some people didn’t want police monitoring restaurants because it could potentially create fear and be bad for business. 

If the ban passes, restaurants would have a three-month grace period, which committee officials described as a time when the ban would be a “soft law.” This time would allow restaurants to monitor plastic straw inventory and train employees on the new procedure.

Regulations are still being determined, but the committee agreed to send the current ordinance to the City Council.

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