The straw ban has officially come to Washington, D.C.
While a ban on plastic drinking straws took effect on January 1, 2019, restaurants were only given a warning if they were found in violation of the law. On Monday, however, businesses that provide disposable plastic straws will be fined between $100 and $800 if their employees repeatedly provide the straws, WTOP reported.
City inspectors had been traveling to businesses throughout the district and handing out warning letters to those noticeably carrying plastic straws, The Washington Post reported.
“Businesses are allowed to keep a small stock of plastic straws for customers with disabilities,” the outlet added.
Bans on plastic straws have spread across the country thanks to a poorly conducted “study” from a 9-year-old. Proponents of the straw ban constantly point to a claim that Americans use 500 million plastic straws each day. That figure comes not from the National Park Service, as it is often attributed, and not from recycling company Eco-Cycle, cited by NPS, but from a phone survey that Milo Cress conducted when he was nine. Cress simply called up straw manufacturers and asked for their estimates. Now, nearly a decade after the phone survey, politicians are imposing a ban and punishing people found in violation.
As Reason’s Christian Britschgi wrote in 2018, even using Cress’ dubious estimates, it is not known how many of the plastic straws Americans use each day wind up in waterways. Those in favor of the straw bans have suggested biodegradable paper straws or even glass or steel straws. Britschgi sarcastically noted “how good steel smelting is for the environment.”
D.C.’s ban at least contains a provision for those with disabilities — something the hysterical politicians who jumped onto the straw-ban train didn’t take into account.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, people with disabilities spoke out against the straw bans, as plastic provided the only straws flexible yet strong enough for those with mobility issues.
Karen Hitselberger wrote at The Washington Post last year that drinking tea without a straw could cause her to choke or even burn her.
Penny Pepper wrote in The Guardian that alternatives to plastic straws just don’t work.
“Paper straws generally don’t do well in hot liquids and I’ve yet to find decent flexible ones. This is important to get the angle right for safe drinking, when you can’t hold a cup or even if another person holds it for you,” she wrote in 2018. “Metal ones are often fat, better used for smoothies and not good if you have a biting issue. I tried silicone straws, which were too soft and fat to be reliably useful.”
Many cities that have proposed or implemented bans ended up carving out an exception for those with disabilities following the outcry.
The ban itself, based on a dubious study, is a perfect example of America’s media and political problems. Something that couldn’t even be considered a problem gets grossly inflated in a poorly conducted “study” and is parroted unquestionably by the media. Politicians also latch onto the “study” and introduce laws in order to receive media attention in an effort to look like they’re solving a problem — a problem that never existed.