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Plastic Beverage Straws and Stirrers Ban

What’s Wrong with Plastic Straws?

Plastics have been with us since 1950. In a short 70 years, 9 billion metric tons have been produced (and production continues to increase), of which more than 6 billion metric tons remain with us as solid waste.

See Plastic Straw Brochure

It may seem like a small thing – but small things add up.

Some facts:

  • Global momentum has built to phase out single-use plastics.
  • Plastic straws are one of the top items found in shoreline clean-ups and our local waterways.
  • Plastic takes centuries to decompose and breaks down into smaller pieces.
  • Marine animals mistake the small plastic bits for food.
  • Volunteers taking part in a recent trash cleanup of the Anacostia River collected more than 4,000 straws.
  • Phasing out plastic straws is one step toward a sustainable future.
Takoma Park Code: 8.52.010 Definitions.

“Plastic beverage straw” means a tube made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum or a biologically based polymer, such as corn or other plant sources, for transferring a beverage from its container to the mouth of the drinker.

“Plastic stirrer” means a device that is used to mix beverages, intended for only one-time use, and made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum or a biologically based polymer, such as corn or other plant sources.

“Retail establishment” means any establishment engaged in the retail sale of goods. This includes any supermarket, convenience store, shop, service station, restaurant (eating and take-out), drinking establishment, farmers’ market vendor, food truck, and any other sales outlet where a customer can buy goods, including such establishments located within other institutions.

“City-sponsored event” means any event organized or sponsored by the City of Takoma Park or any department of the City of Takoma Park.

“Other institutions” means hospitals, schools, daycare centers, churches, etc.

Read the fullPlastic Straw Ban Ordinance 

What Other Materials Are Available That Establishments Can Use?

“Non-plastic material” means

  • paper
  • sugar cane
  • bamboo
  • rubber
  • metal
  • any other material deemed as non-plastic by the City Manager

 

Resource Links:

Learn more about Starter Kits and to view the Straw and Stirrer Pricing Guide, visit https://www.thelastplasticstrawtakomapark.org/get-involved.

Staff Training: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/24b6f6_d94cee61f4084d7b86fffca006ea2384.pdf

Contact Information:

Neighborhood Services at 301-891-7113
neighborhoodservices@takomaparkmd.gov

Neighborhood Services covers the following Initiatives and Bans:

Filing a Code Complaint

Anti-Litter Initiative
Enforcement Process
Plastic Bag Ban
Polystyrene Ban
Property Maintenance Code
Suburban Deer Management


FAQs

Q. Why reduce the use of plastic straws and/or plastic stirrers?

A. Plastic beverage straws and stirrers are generally NOT recyclable and contribute to litter in our local parks and waterways.

Q. What is required?

A. If a straw is requested, only non-plastic straws should be provided. However, a flexible plastic straw should be made available for those with special needs if requested.

Q. Who must comply?

A. Retail establishments in the city, those participating in city sponsored events (including the city), and other institutions. Retail establishments include any organization engaged in the retail sale of goods. This includes any supermarket, convenience store, shop, service station, restaurant (eat-in and take-out), drinking establishment, farmers’ market vendor, food truck, and any other sales outlet where a customer can buy goods, including such establishments located within other institutions.

Q. When does the law take effect?

A. Beginning January 1, 2020, notices of violations may be issued.  Citations may be issued beginning July 1, 2020.

Q. What is the penalty for not complying?

A. Violation of the ban is a Class D Municipal infraction resulting in:

  • $100.00 fine for the first offense
  • $200.00 fine for subsequent violations

Q. What are some alternatives to plastic straws and stirrers?

A.

  • Paper
  • Hay
  • Bamboo
  • Stainless Steel
  • Glass

Q. Where can I find more information about the ordinance and compliance?

A. Please visit: takomaparkmd.gov/Neighborhoodservices.gov/

Neighborhood Services Sections