California implements plastic straw ban at dine-in restaurants

September 25, 2018 by  
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A monumental week of reforms forged by California lawmakers saw no sign of slowing down as groundbreaking legislation was brought into effect by Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday. The statesman, who has chastised the overuse of single-use plastics on several occasions, signed a bill banning restaurants from distributing plastic straws with their customers’ beverages. While diners will still be given a straw if they specifically ask for one, the plastic straw ban could make leaps in curtailing unnecessary pollution and raising public awareness about the environmental impact of disposable straws. California politicians such as Governor Brown agree with many supporters that the ban is unfortunately limited and easily circumvented. “It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it,” Brown noted in his signing address . “And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative.” Related: Plastic straws are a thing of the past, but which reusable straw is best for the future? Beginning January 1, dine-in restaurants will no longer be handing out plastic straws with meals; however, the largest distributors, including fast food chains, delis, coffee shops and any other take-out locales, will be able to disregard the rule completely. Despite the free pass to these types of restaurants, the governor believes that in due time, Californians will likely choose to nix plastic straws on their own, regardless of legal mandates. Plastic was invented back in the 19th century and, as Governor Brown explained, “has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences.” The politician has been mobilizing efforts to reduce and eliminate plastic consumption vehemently throughout his tenure. “One thing is clear,” he wrote. “We must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products.” Plastic straws appeared in the early 1960s. By the 1970s, they had almost entirely replaced paper straws, the original variety of sipper. According to the California Coast Commission, plastic straws are seeded sixth in the rank of most common forms of litter found on beaches, and they threaten more than 500 aquatic species. Among these, 23 endangered forms of wildlife exist in the San Francisco Bay, where plastic pollution fed through urban storm drains are placing the animals at an even higher risk of perishing.  “Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc. — are choking our planet,” Brown wrote. The California straw ban follows in the footsteps of previous legislature banning plastic bags in 2016. The state is the first in the nation to enact limitations on disposable straws. City-level restrictions are already in effect for San Francisco, Alameda, Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Carmel, San Luis, Obispo and Davis. Via San Francisco Chronicle Image via Joshua Sorenson

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California implements plastic straw ban at dine-in restaurants

Morocco just officially banned plastic bags

July 27, 2016 by  
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When it comes to plastic bag consumption, Morocco is second only to the United States – but that’s set to change as the nation just officially banned plastic bags . A new bill enacted by Morocco’s parliament bans importing, selling, distributing, and producing plastic bags – but some worry it could take years for people adhere to the law. Morocco’s 34 million residents use three billion plastic bags every year, according to the Moroccan Industry Ministry. The country banned black plastic bags in 2009, however the motion was only partially successful as authorities had a hard time stopping “informal production.” Related: Scotland bans plastic bags, spares landfill 650 million bags in just one year Mamoun Ghallab, founder of Moroccan sustainable development group MakeSense , told Al Jazeera “They do it to promote the image of Morocco as an environmentally friendly country, which is partly true, but not completely… If citizens are not aware of the concerns and the challenges we’re facing, things will go much slower. Everything begins and ends with the citizens.” While Morocco is sometimes seen as a green country because of its focus on clean energy – the nation has built a massive solar plant and plans to reduce subsidies for fossil fuel companies – other sectors of the country aren’t so green. Waste is one issue; the World Bank said Morocco disposes of just 10 percent of waste in an “environmentally and socially acceptable manner.” Yassine Zegzouti, president of Moroccan advocacy group Association Mawarid , told Al Jazeera the government has made efforts to enforce the ban – including investing money in educational TV spots – but that the “formal sector” would likely need four or five years to adhere to the law. Industry Minister of Morocco Moulay Hafid Elalamy stated via Twitter there would be “several alternative solutions” to plastic bags, like fabric and paper bags. Via Al Jazeera Images via Zainub Razvi on Flickr and Esin Üstün on Flickr

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Morocco just officially banned plastic bags

Hawaii Plans to Move Homeless People Away from Tourist Areas

October 17, 2014 by  
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Hawaii may be the quintessential beach bum destination, but a new law lets authorities move the state’s homeless population away from tourist spots, and it’s making life difficult for those genuinely homeless. The Associated Press reports that Honolulu City Council recently approved several measures that will help it get rid of homeless people in touristy areas – including one that bans people from sitting and lying down on sidewalks in the popular surfing destination of Waikiki . They are also planning to move many of Oahu ’s 4,700 homeless people to a temporary campsite on a remote, mostly industrial island that’s far removed from the resorts. Read the rest of Hawaii Plans to Move Homeless People Away from Tourist Areas Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: criminalize , hawaii , homeless , honalulu , honalulu city council , law , Move! , resorts , sand island , Waikiki

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Washington State Official Says Cyclists Emit More CO2 Than Motorists and Must be Taxed

March 5, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock In a bid to raise funds for a $10 billion transportation bill in Washington State, legislators want to impose a $25 tax on all bicycles that cost more than $500. When local business owners and Seattle Bike Blog contacted Washington Rep. Ed Orcutt (R), a member of the State Transportation Committee, to question the tax, Orcutt claimed that cyclists are contributing nothing to use the roads and because of their high heart and respiration rate, they produce greater carbon emissions than motorists. Read the rest of Washington State Official Says Cyclists Emit More CO2 Than Motorists and Must be Taxed Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bicycle tax , business , carbon emissions , Carbon Tax , cars , CO2 emissions , cycling , global warming , green transportation , law , politics , public transportation , Rep. Ed Orcutt (R) , small business , transportation tax , Washingon State

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Washington State Official Says Cyclists Emit More CO2 Than Motorists and Must be Taxed

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