In the U.S., 500 million plastic straws are used every day and many of those straws and stirrers end up in the environment, according to Better Alternatives Now, or BAN 2.0, an analysis done by several pollution research groups.
The movement to ban straws and other single-use plastics is growing. In May, a Girl Scout convinced Alaska Airlines to give up plastic straws. On Thursday, Bon Appétit, a large food service company, announced it is getting rid of plastic straws in all 1,000 of its cafes across 33 states, including locations like AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Getty Museum, Vassar College, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Portland in Oregon, where students worked to outlaw plastic straws on campus in April. The company plans to fully switch to paper straws by September 2019.
While the movement is still growing in the U.S., it’s in full swing around the world: Vancouver banned straws, Scotland plans to be rid of plastic straws by 2019, and Taiwan is banning single-use plastic items, including straws, cups and shopping bags, by 2030. In the U.K. Queen Elizabeth II banned plastic straws and bottles from all royal estates, cafes, and gift shops and Prime Minister Theresa May announced a Britain-wide ban on the sale of plastic straws, stirrers, and plastic cotton swabs. British businesses like Waitrose, London City Airport, McDonalds UK, and Costa Coffee are banning straws, Ryanair aims to be “plastic free” by 2023, and Marriott is implementing a straw ban at all 60 British properties.
Straw bans are not without detractors, though, including those who say it ignores the needs of people with disabilities and won’t save the oceans. That criticism has not slowed the movement. While many individual businesses, nonprofits, and schools have opted to ban straws, here are the cities and states that are tackling the issue: