Seattle tried to start a national trend by banning the use of plastic straws and plastic utensils citywide for environmental reasons. San Francisco, not surprisingly, decided on Tuesday to start banning straws soon, too, Business Insider reported.
But while defying the ban can result in hefty fines in those municipalities, one California coastal city decided this month to take things a bit further: possible jail time.
According to Fox News, restaurant servers in Santa Barbara can get hit with a warning for their first offense, but repeat offenders can get a “fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months,” according to a new ordinance.
Yikes! And that’s all for handing out something that was perfectly legal a few moments ago.
Stop, you fiend!
Reason.com believes it’s unlikely that the maximum penalty would be doled out, but Santa Barbara’s Assistant City Attorney Scott Vincent said it’s certainly possible in some situations. The ban on offering straws to customers also applies to bars and other eating establishments, such as food trucks.
Critics have argued that the ban hurts disabled people who need a straw in order to drink. Unlike Seattle and San Francisco, Santa Barbara does not have an exception for the disabled.
The plastic straw ban has also garnered much ridicule, and not just for the trendy panic surrounding the sudden need to immediately wipe this everyday item off the face of the planet.
Seattle-based Starbucks is set to ban straws in all its coffee shops by 2020 and has already introduced a strawless cup lid that was immediately mocked and labeled an “adult sippy cup” lid.
As for San Francisco’s streets, people have pointed out that the environmental problem of human waste littering the streets has not yet been dealt with. Also, neither is the enforcement of existing rules, like immigration laws.
Restaurants are looking at alternatives to plastic straws — and plastic utensils in Seattle. Paper straws can cost up to 10 tens as much as plastic, though, according to CNBC. “Environmentally friendly” bio-plastic utensils can also be more expensive, and they require a very high heat process in order to be properly broken down, according to EcoLunchbox. Plus, if they end up in the ocean, they take forever to decay, too. Plastic, on the other hand, can be recycled.