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26th Jul 2018

As of 1 January 2019, people using plastic straws could be sentenced to six months in prison

Rory Cashin

Straws, How many holes? |

The harsher punishments haven’t reached Ireland yet, but anyone travelling to the States will need to take heed.

There have been some huge steps taken in cutting out the use of plastic straws in the last few weeks and months.

Both McDonalds and Starbucks announced they were doing away with plastic straws, new EU rules announced you’d have to start buying reusable cups for your coffee, while Westport announced they’d become the first plastic straw-free town in Ireland.

However, some parts of the USA have decided that simply putting new rules and laws in place won’t be enough, as people will need a proper deterrent from going back to using plastic straws.

As reported by Newsweek, up until today, Seattle became the first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws in July, and the maximum fine there is just $250 (€215).

However, as of 1 January 2019, Santa Barbara has passed a bill that will make breaking the plastic straw ban as an administrative infraction, meaning those caught disobeying it a second time risk a maximum fine of $1,000 (€860) and up to six months in jail.

Santa Barbara’s Environmental Services Outreach Coordinator said that the new, strict fines and jail times are aimed more at the businesses that continue to use plastic straws after initial warnings about the new bill: “Jail time or stiff fines are not the intent for first-time offenders.”

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