City council to discuss plan for reducing use of plastic straws

Last Straw Campaign.JPG

Portland city council will be discussing a plastic straw resolution this week. If passed, the resolution would direct city staff to develop a strategy for reducing the use of single-use plastic items, including straws.

As the city tackles the issue, more than a hundred local bars and restaurants have already signed on to the 'Ditch The Straw PDX' campaign, which was created by the Portland chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

RELATED: Some Portland bars and restaurants banding together to stop using plastic straws

"The environment is something I've always cared passionately about," said Brent Richford, owner of Taqueria Nueve in Northeast Portland. "I was just kind of brought up that way."

Richford had been looking to get rid of plastic straws on his own, but joined the campaign after seeing how his ideals matched up with the larger goal.

RELATED: Seattle to ban plastic straws, utensils at all eateries after July 1

"I'm a surfer, or a I used to be before I owned a restaurant," said Richford. "I was surfing in Nicaragua and I saw a dead animal on the beach as I was walking to a surf spot and it looked like it had choked on a straw."

According to the Surfrider Foundation's Portland chapter, plastic straws are among the most common items found at group cleanups on the Oregon coast and in Portland.

"100 percent of the time there will be straws and you'll see they are literally everywhere," said Chanel Hason, chair of the local Surfrider chapter.

Bans on plastic straws have been gaining steam, but there are critics. In a recent op-ed from Bloomberg Opinion, Adam Minter discussed how straws make up an extremely small percentage of plastic pollution.

Portland City Council will discuss the plastic straw resolution Wednesday afternoon. If enacted, city staff would need to create a strategy by Oct. 1, 2018.

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