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That San Francisco Straw Ordinance Also Bans Plastic Cocktail Sticks

That San Francisco Straw Ordinance Also Bans Plastic Cocktail Sticks

First they came for the cocktail swords, and I said nothing

Ah, California, land of the dumbest laws in the country.

The internet has spent the last few weeks mercilessly mocking San Francisco’s plastic straw ban. The city ordinance carries hefty fines and even jail time for violators.

 Anyway, as Reason points out, the ordinance is not limited to plastic straws, but also includes “plastic splash sticks, toothpicks, and cocktail sticks, which would have to include those little swords and umbrellas.”

Other straw bans typically target food service businesses, but this one will prohibit anyone, including grocery stores and other retailers, from selling plastic straws.

“The negative environmental impacts of single-use plastics are astronomical,” bill sponsor Katy Tang said in a statement. “San Francisco has been a pioneer of environmental change, and it’s time for us to find alternatives to the plastic that is choking our marine ecosystems and littering our streets.”

Like all good straw bans, the text of Tang’s bill mentions the questionable statistic that Americans use 500 million straws a day. This statistic comes from a unconfirmed 2011 phone survey of straw manufacturers conducted by a 9-year-old. Market analysts think the actual number is far lower.

Violators of San Francisco’s plastic straw/sword ban will face between $100 and $500 in fines, depending on the number of violations. While an explicit exemption for disabled people—many of whom lack the motor skills to drink or eat without a straw—is not included, the bill does say that “strict compliance” with the law is not required when it would “interfere with accommodating for any person’s medical needs.”

This makes it less punitive than the straw ban in nearby Santa Barbara, which has no disability exemption and even allows for the possibility of criminal sanctions. In other ways, though, San Francisco’s straw ban is quite restrictive. Unlike Seattle’s straw ban, for example, San Francisco’s does not allow straws made from most compostable bioplastics.

But hey, at least it’s not Santa Barbara where repeat straw violators could be slapped with jail time.

The assumption that plastic straws will save the planet is hilariously linked to a 9-year-old’s unscientific phone survey to straw manufacturers. But let’s jail all the straw-soliciting waiters anyway!


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This is how Germany lost their freedom: goose-step by goose-step.

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It’s “on,” everybody. Ditch your Apple services, cancel Facebook, Spodify, Twitter and donate HEAVILY to groups supporting us.

American Human | August 6, 2018 at 3:37 pm

What if you re-use the same straw over and over?

    tom_swift in reply to American Human. | August 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    You get to pay the fine over and over.

    alaskabob in reply to American Human. | August 6, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    It has to be an approved straw. You will need a background check and safety course to carry the straw with you to public eateries. If you lose the straw you have 24 hours to report its loss and may be fined for pollution.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to American Human. | August 6, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Then you get to pay a $10 per use tax, which will go towards protecting illegals from ICE.

    American Human…

    I use a straw when drinking my morning coffee, (helps keep stains off the teeth).

    An enviro-wacko friend gave me a metal drinking straw. It came with a little bush for cleaning and a fancy carrying case for travel…
    Of course, using a metal straw to drink HOT coffee ain’t that great of an idea…I tried it anyway and burnt my lips off!

    Next time my friend came over she brought some little silicone tips for the business end of the metal straw…BUT…putting a tip on the straw….cleaning the straw…lota rigmarole to go through just to use a damn straw !

Bucky Barkingham | August 6, 2018 at 3:38 pm

If it saves the life on just one seal or turtle it’s worth it. /s off

    I take this vow now. For every ‘straw’ saved,m I promise to club a baby seal. That should limit the effectiveness of this law. (I do not expect to be clubbing any seals)

      pwaldoch….”Sniff”….I am truly touched by your vow…

      I’m going to save ALL my plastic straws and melt them into a giant club!!!!!
      Then, I’ll give you that club to use on those baby seals….!
      (Just trying to do my part)

I would like to offer a helpful suggestion to help California achieve its goals. Other States should take offenders off parole and probation in return for moving to California and staying there. This will help California further acquire the kind of people it seems to so much desire.

practicalconservative | August 6, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Let me get this straight. In California it is okay to urinate in the streets, live homelessly, but not drink from a plastic straw?

This ban is like the low-flow toilets: it will extract a cost in disease from random members of the public.

Straws are clean, compared to glasses that have been washed in a restaurant, which can contain residue from other customers. That is why I like them, and probably why they became popular in the first place.

I nearly died from toxic shock syndrome, and my gynecologist told me that it was likely the result of using public toilets. A toilet that is in a law firm not generally available to the public is still a public toilet. She told me that nearly all of her patients had infections from toilets at one time or another, and that these can be avoided by flushing BEFORE and AFTER sitting.

A near death experience will focus the mind, and in the future, I will simply have to ask for straws, because I am not dumb enough to ignore a similar public health compromise.

Comanche Voter | August 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm

I guess Reggie Jackson would not be welcome in San Francisco. After all during his days on the New York Yankees he claimed to be the “straw that stirs the drink in October”. Well I don’t know about a straw, but Reggie was a doggone good player when it came to playoff time.

Chuckin Houston | August 6, 2018 at 3:58 pm

California, where giving someone a plastic straw is a comparable crime to intentionally infecting someone with HIV.

San Francisco, where bus and cable car operators warn passengers to watch where they sit so they won’t get jabbed in the butt by used hypodermic needles. And, where they have this really cool app for your iPhone giving you in real-time the location of human excrement deposits on the streets and sidewalks of the City by the Bay.

California: A state-shaped insane asylum.

I lost my straw when my canoe tipped over. Swear it.

San Francisco is a “pioneer” of environmental change? San Francisco where the streeets are so littered with human waste and hypodermic needles that it is worth your life to set foot in the hell hole?

PUHLEASE!! That is the biggest laugh I’ve heard in a very long time.

California, where it is no longer a felony to knowingly give someone AIDS.

Coming soon to Boulder CO (aka The Peoples Republic of Boulder). I predict by December they should be on board.

Stupid ideas flow east from California

Coming soon to Boulder CO (aka The Peoples Republic of Boulder). I predict by December they should be on board.

Stupid ideas flow east from California

thalesofmiletus | August 6, 2018 at 5:14 pm

They can have my cocktail straw when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Proposed ideas:
-Straw buy-back. Up to $100 for each of these deadly straws taken off the street.
-Straw licence and registration for anybody who can prove they have a clean criminal record, 100 hours of safe straw training, and a demonstrated need for a straw as determined by the local sheriff.
-A strict $500 license fee for being permitted to have a straw in your home, which must be kept in a locked container so minors do not have access to it.
-Unannounced visits to your home by straw wardens to ensure the deadly devices are kept locked up as above, with substantial fines for having one around the house, even if it is in use.
-Concealed Carry of straws only in approved locked containers which must have two-factor authentication to be unlocked only inside authorized straw use zones.
-Microengraving of straws such that every slurp will be identifiable by engraving nanobots under penalty of law.

blacksburger | August 6, 2018 at 5:31 pm

How do plastic straws end up in the ocean anyway? They are usually thrown in the trash and end up in landfills or incinerators.

As I understand it, most of the plastic in the oceans comes from rivers in Asia. Apparently the bulk of it is fishing nets.

    Milhouse in reply to blacksburger. | August 7, 2018 at 5:06 am

    The bulk of it is microparticles that are invisible to the naked eye, and as far as I know there is no evidence that they do any harm to anyone or anything. Their offense in the enviros’ eyes is their mere existence.

    (The so-called “Great Garbage Patch” is not only not visible from space, it’s not even visible from right there.)

The Friendly Grizzly | August 6, 2018 at 5:38 pm

Yet another further different excuse to arrest people.

What about Juice Boxes?
My God, they catch you with a six pack of those and you’re going to jail forever!!!

The Friendly Grizzly | August 6, 2018 at 6:05 pm

@Hamilton: just make sure you aren’t profoundly obese when caught. When you get put on the ground and cuffed, it could be fatal.

It’s just common sense straw laws. Why are you Neanderthals so opposed to progress. Think of all the brain freezes it will prevent.

Need I say it: This is the last straw.

Subotai Bahadur | August 7, 2018 at 10:42 am

There is no reason to have any care or concern for anyone or anything in California. They have made their choices. The ones that are marginally sane have had plenty of time to leave. The more they harm themselves, the more amusing it is for everybody else.

They should also ban chop sticks in Frisco. They are one use utensils. Some are plastic and some are wood. Both are a blight on the land and oceans.

This will devastate the spitwad industry.

Roy in Nipomo | August 7, 2018 at 9:55 pm

Everyone forgets how dangerous straws are. A camel is a large beast of burden, yet can have its back broken with a single straw. Straws *must* be banned. Do it for the camels.