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Washington D.C. Now Has an ‘Inspector’ to Enforce the Ban on Plastic Straws

Washington D.C. Now Has an ‘Inspector’ to Enforce the Ban on Plastic Straws

“Being found with a straw can earn you an $800 fine.”

The Department of Energy and Environment in Washington, DC, now has someone to enforce the ban on plastic straws. Will you sleep better tonight knowing this scourge upon society is being dealt with properly?

Fenit Nirappil reports at the Washington Post:

On patrol with the enforcer of D.C.’s plastic-straw ban

Warning letters in hand, Zach Rybarczyk patrolled the food court at Union Station, looking for offenders.

Past Auntie Anne’s, past Johnny Rockets. At Lotus Express, a Chinese food joint, Rybarczyk peeled the wrapper from a red straw and bent the end — the telltale giveaway.


Washington has become the latest city in a nationwide movement to ban plastic straws, and it’s up to Rybarczyk, an inspector for the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment, to enforce the new law.

The straw cop left the rattled cashier at Lotus Express with a warning that if the store was still using plastic straws by July, when a grace period expires, it could be fined up to $800.

Nine years after the District instituted a nickel tax on plastic bags and three years after it banned plastic foam food containers, it has turned on plastic straws — the newest target of environmentalists trying to reduce millions of tons of plastic that ends up in trees, waterways and in the bellies of wildlife. The effort has been galvanized by a viral video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nostril.

“It’s pretty absurd the amount of resources we put into creating plastic materials that we are using for five minutes to an hour, and then never again,” said Julie Lawson, director of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s Office of the Clean City.

Ms. Lawson makes a good point. You know what else is pretty absurd? Having government officials who police restaurants and bars to enforce the ban on plastic straws.

Greg Gutfeld offered some thoughts on this during The Five yesterday:

Gutfeld on the plastic straw inspector

Washington, D.C. has many problems — most have a “D” or an “R” after their names — but thank God the city is tackling the most pressing problem of all: Plastic straws.

Yes, D.C. now has a plastic straw inspector that visits restaurants warning them of steep fines if they don’t get rid of the evil, thin hollow tubes. Being found with a straw can earn you an $800 fine. — That’s more than the fine for practicing medicine without a license in Connecticut. (Don’t ask me how I know).

Worse, it’s more bureaucratic harassment that rattles cashiers and clerks just trying to do their jobs. And the hassle solves no problems.

The overwhelming majority of plastic waste in the ocean — which seems to be the hot button issue here – comes from 10 rivers — all from Africa and Asia. It ain’t us. Which poses a problem for left-wing activists, who need an America to protest.

Watch below:

I’m with John Stossel:

The nanny state never stops looking for ways to be annoying.

Featured image via YouTube.


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The Left is good at making “straw man” arguments…to the point of now really having one.

JusticeDelivered | February 2, 2019 at 12:35 pm

This is a new profit center and a job for someone otherwise unemployable.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | February 2, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Memo: Buy more plastic straws.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | February 2, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Memo: Buy more plastic straws.

legacyrepublican | February 2, 2019 at 12:55 pm

It could add new meaning to “Turkey in the Straw.”

Wonder what Paul Shanklin would do with this tune in light of this law?

A note on this type of “inspector” from Thomas Jefferson: “He [King George] has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”

But what did Tom know about the priorities of government in the modern world? I’m sure he would understand why THIS ONE is absolutely necessary and good.

I may have recounted this story before, but well before the last turn of the century…a couple or three decades before, I think…I watched a debate on PBS between an environmentalist and an economist on glass recycling laws.

It was brought out and agreed that such laws were downright damaging to the Western states environment since recycled glass had to be transported to far-off refractories, costing more in fuel and pollution than the process saved.

The epiphany for me came when the environmentalist insisted on the legal mandates anyway. That’s when I knew environmentalism was a druidic religion and nothing more.

    MajorWood in reply to Ragspierre. | February 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    I could argue the same point right now for the bottle redemption practices in Oregon. Instead of raising it to a dime, they should have dropped AL and glass completely and made it 25 cents on plastic water bottles. Of course, the latter would have made it easier for people to buy water with food stamps and then use the redemption money to buy cigarettes. Kind of sad to watch low-lifes emptying a whole shopping cart of 24 packs of bottled water so they can get their $14.40 for contraband items. YEA liberals! And then there is the back-handed funding of the recreational heroin market.

amatuerwrangler | February 2, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Just wait until they realize that the WD-40 comes with a small straw attached, as do many aerosol-delivered substances. Home Depot and Ace Hardware are big time targets for this stuff.

Perhaps a DC reader of LI could post the names of the politicians who voted to make this the law. This stupidity really is owned by those little minds.

Dammit! How do I land a job like that???

As we were laughing at the Stoessel comments at the mochahut, it occurred to me that “The Onion” needs a classified section called “pointless jobs” where people can submit real-adverts for pointless .gov jobs. I bet 99% of them would come from a half-dozen dem strongholds. It also reminded me of how Douglass Adams might modify Hitchhiker’s Guide these days to include other jobs along with the telephone receiver polishers.

A straw ban with a straw-man apology by a straw-clown. Let us bray for them. They have jumped the Ass, again.

Morning Sunshine | February 2, 2019 at 3:08 pm

SHUTDOWN. Just Shut it Down!

DouglasJBender | February 2, 2019 at 4:45 pm

But what if you have a concealed-carry license?

Some day these bureaucrats are going to be standing in front of a brick wall wondering why they are wearing blindfolds.

Antifundamentalist | February 2, 2019 at 7:48 pm

While I have no issue with a ban on the sale of plastic straws or plastic bags or plastic cups, or even a ban on giving them away in restaurants in the name of Saving the Oceans or whatever the cause du jour, I DO have a problem with fining people for simply possessing them. Regulate your big businesses to your hearts content, but leave individuals with their autonomy.

Oh no! How are they supposed to snort their cocaine Without straws?

The paper straws some restaurants are using are awful. They tend to fall apart where your lips touch them, and they quickly degrade so there’s a good chance you need a replacement before your meal is over.