The Mercury News : 2019-02-11

Business : 26 : C8


C8 001 Seattle, Monmouth Beach, N.J., spots on the main level had already to the list of banned food and a string of coastal cities in switched to compostable containers and utensils that includes southern Florida and California, straws. But in the basement plastic foam boxes and including San Francisco. There food court, Rybarczyk drew foil-lined deli paper. are no statewide bans, although blank stares from cashiers who Bars and food establishments California requires restaurants had no idea about the ban. in the nation’s capital have been to serve straws only at customers’ At Lotus Express, the inspector, replacing plastic with straws request. An increasing number one of three dispatched by made from paper, hay, bamboo of corporations, including the city to check cafeterias, bars or cornstarch. Starbucks, Marriott and American and restaurants, scribbled the “Honestly, we have not heard Airlines, are voluntarily restaurant’s name on the paper one complaint,” said Kathy Hollinger, phasing out plastic straws. sleeve of the plastic straw who leads the Restaurant The effort in the District has and tucked it into his back Association of Metropolitan been pushed along by Dan Simons, pocket, along with two others Washington. “Our folks will co-owner of the Farmers from scofflaw restaurants. He tell us pretty quickly if there’s a Restaurant Group. planned to later check whether big impact on their bottom line, Simons never stocked plastic they floated in water, another and we have not heard that with straws at his seven restaurants, telltale sign of prohibited plastic. this issue.” including the flagship Founding At Blue Bottle Coffee in Union Farmers in Foggy Bottom, preferring “Obviously there will be some Station, manager Derek Henry bioplastic straws that holdouts until July, when we assured Rybarczyk that the are supposed to decompose. start issuing fines. But it’s most store has been using straws But when he stuck a bioplastic fair to give businesses a heads made of vegetable material for straw in a container of salt water up,” said Rybarczyk, who keeps four years. for six months and it didn’t a metal straw for his personal “Every product we give a change, he was convinced that use in his backpack. guest is compostable. It’s been they, too, have drawbacks. At Sakura Japan, Rybarczyk one of our core values,” Henry Last spring, Simons formed explained the new rules to a cashier said, although he acknowledged Our Last Straw, a coalition of as a man waiting for his the straws end up in the trash D.C.-area restaurants, bars, hotels, lunch looked on in disgust. because Union Station doesn’t event venues and organizations “What, is this California offer composting. to lobby for an end to single-use now?” grumbled the customer, Business is booming for manufacturers plastic straws. He said it who declined to give his name. of straws made from was relatively easy to persuade “All these laws are just spreading eco-friendly alternatives to others to join. from California. Everything plastic. “When you are really getting is getting taken away from us, Orders have gone up so much into discussions with people on man. This is so stupid.” for Indiana-based Aardvark this topic and you look at photos In 2014, D.C. lawmakers Straws — which has made paper and videos about the amount banned disposable food service straws for more than a decade of trash in the ocean, this is just items that can’t be recycled or — that there is a six-to-eightweek so logical and obvious that human composted, but the city’s Department backlog, and the company behavior needs to change,” of Energy and Environment needed to open a new manufacturing Simons said. released guidance saying facility. He argued that the added cost plastic straws were acceptable As New York City considers of alternatives to plastic could to use. a plastic-straw ban, Aardvark be offset if restaurants use less. D.C. Council members Mary Straws wants it to hold off until “If you spend twice as much M. Cheh, D, and Jack Evans, D, 2020. but use half as many, the math sought to correct that last year “All these bans just started is pretty simple,” Simons said. by explicitly outlawing plastic hitting at once,” said David At Union Station during the straws, but the Bowser administration Rhodes, global business director first week of January, when the beat them to the punch, for Aardvark. “The last thing ban took effect, many dining adding plastic straws and stirrers we want to do is start a movement MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2019 BAY AREA NEWS GROUP

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