Plastic Free Delaware has been working to reduce the use of single-use plastic straws by restaurants and food vendors, and is building support for legislation which would restrict its use in dining establishments.
In February 2023, SB 51 was introduced by Senator Trey Paradee and Representative Paul Baumbach in the Delaware General Assembly. The bill would address plastic straws (making them available by request only), single-use plastic picks, and expanded polystyrene foam. SB 51 sailed through Senate Committee and passed the Senate on April 7th with 14 Yays, 5 Nays, 1 Absent, and 1 Not Voting.
YOUR VOICE letting your State legislators know that you support SB 51 is critical now. PLEASE reach out to your state Representative to ask for their support of SB51 which is aimed at reducing plastic straws, picks and expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) food service products in dining establishments in Delaware. SB51 is aimed at addressing the impacts of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), plastic straws, and picks which litter our communities and watersheds. They pollute our water, hard wildlife and lead to human health impacts. Neighboring states and large cities including Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, D.C. and NYC already have such laws in place.
More information is available below. YOUR voice can make a difference!
HCR17 recognizes the issues of plastic pollution and the role of plastic straws, and requires the Delaware Restaurant Association to report back by May 1, 2020 on voluntary efforts its members have taken to curb plastic pollution.
Sabin Lowe, a Plastic Free Delaware Board member and co-chair of the Newark Charter School Marine Science Club provided testimony before both the House and Senate in support of HCR17. Extra special thanks to Rep. Paul Baumbach, Rep. Valerie Longhurst, and Sen. Trey Paradee for their leadership on this effort.
First of all, if you have not seen this video, it's really all you need to see.
Although with a few exceptions, most people do not need a straw to drink their water, their soda or their cocktail when dining out. Do you use one at home? It is estimated that Americans use more than 180 billion plastic straws a year.
Plastic straws are not recyclable. Most end up in the landfill, or even worse, out in the environment where they can harm wildlife and marine animals.
Along Delaware's coastlines, plastic straws are one of the most prevalent and pervasive types of litter found annually during the Coastal Cleanup which is only three hours in September once a year. Despite more than one hundred restaurants joining the plastic-straws-by-request-only movement, the number of straws found during the 2018 Coastal Cleanup actually INCREASED 50% to more than 2,800!
Plastic Free Delaware has launched an outreach initiative to diners and dining establishments alike. Diners can request "no straw please," and PFD encourages restaurants to give straws only when requested, and we hope that those that are distributed will be biodegradable.
When dining out, be sure to relay to your server, "no straw please." If you forget, and one appears, use it as a conversation starter to ask the establishment to switch to a straws-by-request-only (biodegradable please) approach only. You can refer them to this site, and the materials below to provide more information.
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