The Last Straw: The Debate Over Single-Use Plastic Straws

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Oakland and Berkeley are both considering ordinances that would force people to request plastic straws at restaurants.  (Monrudee/Flickr)

Plastic straws could be going the way of plastic bags in California. There’s a growing effort to ban or restrict single-use plastic straws in restaurants. Oakland and Berkeley city councils discussed it this week. Other cities have already enacted laws including Alameda, Santa Cruz and Malibu. There’s also been legislation introduced at the state level. It’s all part of an effort to cut down on waste which ends up in landfills and the oceans. Many in the plastics industry say the problem is complicated and solving it requires something other than simply banning straws. Forum takes up the issue. Would you be willing to give up your straws?


Devin Katayama, host of KQED's daily news podcast, The Bay
Martin Bourque, executive director, Ecology Center in Berkeley
Nicole Kozlowski, co-leader at Rise Above Plastics, Surfrider Foundation