Garrett Park Bans Single-Use Plastic Straws

Garrett Park became the first town in Maryland to ban single-use plastic straws, plastic stirrers, or plastic “splash sticks” for all businesses and permitted events. The ordinance, which creates a fine for violators, was passed unanimously by the town council.

This ordinance comes from a worldwide effort to cut down on plastic waste, particularly in single-use items such as straws, and while Garrett Park is setting the trend for Maryland, several other places either have passed or are drafting similar legislation. Seattle banned the food industry from using any plastic straws and utensils in a law that went into effect on July 1. California passed a similar law, which banned the use of plastic straws at dine-in restaurants starting in January. Washington D.C. had passed a law banning plastic straws in restaurants and other businesses in 2014, but after a lack of enforcement, the city has passed an updated law that gives the Department of Energy and Environment the authority to enforce the ban on plastic straws.  This ban began this year, and businesses have until July 1st before being fined for violating the law.

Garrett Park Town Councilman Dan Simons wrote and presented the ordinance, and he believes that eliminating plastic straws can have a major positive impact on the environment. “We’re proud to do our part to reduce consumer use of single-use plastics to help keep our waterways clear of debris,” Simons said, “We hope that other towns and cities follow our lead as we work with them to eliminate single-use plastic statewide.”

This ordinance, which takes effect on March 3, requires straws in Garrett Park to be made of biodegradable material. Violators will face a $100 fine.

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About Sam Merrill

Intern at Montgomery Community Media, senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland.

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