Santa Barbara, Calif., is threatening waiters with jail if they offer straws to customers.
The city recently banned plastic straws from restaurants, bars and other food establishments in what officials claim is an environmental crackdown through the use of social engineering.
“Prohibiting the provision of plastic beverage straws, and restricting the provision of plastic stirrers and cutlery in connection to cases where the customer requests the items will initiate a change in consumer behavior and will further serve the City’s goal of reducing plastic litter,” the city states.
Waiters will be given a written warning on the first offense, but on the second offense they will receive “fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months,” according to the city’ municipal code.
The punishments are worse than Seattle, which first made headlines with a straw ban this year by fining businesses $250 per offense.
Interestingly, Seattle-based Starbucks is going strawless in all its stores by 2020, but the coffee company is replacing plastic straws with lids that use even more plastic.
“Right now, Starbucks patrons are topping most of their cold drinks with either 3.23 grams or 3.55 grams of plastic product, depending on whether they pair their lid with a small or large straw,” reported Reason.com. “The new nitro lids meanwhile weigh either 3.55 or 4.11 grams, depending again on lid size.”
Even more interesting, the crusade against straws is apparently based on the flawed claim that Americans use 500 million straws daily, according to USA Today.
“Why I use this statistic is because it illustrates that we use too many straws,” said activist Milo Cress, who spearheaded the “straw-free” crusade. “I think if it were another number, it still illustrates the fact that there is room for reduction. That’s really my message.”