Today the City Council's Consumer and Licensing committee will be debating a bill that would ban single-use plastic straws at NYC restaurants. Below is the testimony I submitted on this important bill.
Testimony prepared by Kim Moscaritolo, Democratic District Leader, 76th Assembly District, Part B
For the New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing
Date: June 21, 2018
Re: Support for Intro. 0936-2018
My name is Kim Moscaritolo. I am a Democratic District Leader from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and I strongly support Int. 0936-2018, which would prohibit single-use plastic beverage straws and beverage stirrers.
According to the New York Times, 6 cities have already banned or limited the use of plastic straws in restaurants: Malibu, Seattle, Miami Beach, Fort Myers, and Davis and San Luis Obispo, CA. Similar measures are being considered in other cities around the country, and many restaurants have chosen to voluntarily give up plastic straws. We've also seen efforts in other countries, such as Scotland, which plans to be rid of plastic straws by 2019. Taiwan will ban all single use plastic items by 2030.
The facts are clear: according to the World Economic Forum, every minute the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans, and that amount is set to increase ten-fold by 2020. By 2050, this could mean there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.
Banning single-use plastic straws will not solve the problem of plastic pollution, but it will be a very good step in the right direction. It is one small step this city can take to reduce our waste, and protect our oceans and its wildlife. I'm also pleased that this bill includes an exception for people who rely on straws due to a disability.
I would leave you with one suggestion: earlier this year Seattle embarked on an extremely successful campaign called "Strawless in Seattle." This campaign urged Seattle residents to support the straw ban by presenting it as a point of pride for the city. Local celebrities took part, and rather than simply legislating, the city worked hard to ensure that local residents felt invested in the effort. I would strongly urge New York City to create a similar campaign to engage New Yorkers in this process.
I wholeheartedly support this legislation, and I urge this committee, and the council as a whole, to pass this bill. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to present testimony on this important issue.