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New York City Council to consider ban on plastic straws

NEW YORK -- The New York City Council is expected to introduce a bill Wednesday to ban the use of plastic straws in the city, CBS New York reports. Restaurants would be able to instead offer reusable aluminum straws, or straws made of paper, corn or even pasta.

"It's important for New Yorkers to understand that the plastic straw is not a necessity. It's more of a luxury, and our luxury is causing great harm to other environments," Councilman Rafael Espinal, the bill's lead sponsor, said, The New York Times reported

Espinal told CBS New York a lot of restaurants have already signed on and either use only biodegradable straws or a have a straw-on-request-only policy. 

The bill, which also targets plastic coffee stirrers, comes as cities across the country are taking similar measures to cut down on plastic waste that often ends up polluting our waters and hurting sea life.

Espinal said the proposed ban became more urgent after a whale washed ashore in Spain in April. Scientists said the whale most likely died after ingesting over 60 pounds of trash, the Times reported. 

If the ban in New York City passes, the city would not issue any fees for violators for the first two years. After that, a first-time violation would mean a $100 fine.   

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