Paper Matters Blog
Could California AB 1884 Bill Be the End For Plastic?

The ban on single-use plastic straws is being implemented across the globe. From California to London, plastic straws are becoming a taboo, not only at food service establishments but in the home, as well. California’s AB 1884 bill was the first official ban in the United States to prevent further distribution of plastic straws, but more are on the horizon.

Could this be the end of plastic and the beginning of a new era for paper? What exactly does California’s AB 1884 ban restrict?

The legislation states:

“This bill would prohibit a full-service restaurant, as specified, from providing single-use plastic straws, as defined, to consumers unless requested by the consumer. The bill would specify that the first and 2nd violations of these provisions would result in a notice of violation and any subsequent violation would be an infraction punishable by a fine of $25 for each day the full-service restaurant is in violation, but not to exceed an annual total of $300. The provisions would be enforced by the same officers authorized to enforce the California Retail Food Code. By creating a new crime and imposing additional enforcement duties on local health agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”

To be clear, California AB 1884 bill does not mandate an end to plastic straws. Restaurants are just not allowed to offer patrons plastic straws unless requested.

One would think that replacing plastic straws with paper straws would be a simple transition; however, there is a lot to consider as a paper manufacturer and paper straws have their own challenges to face.

In addition to the ban on plastic straws, the demand to ban plastic utensils and other plastic products is also currently being discussed. The question is will this solve the overall problem of waste in our landfills and natural habitat?  Only time will tell how this all unfolds.

Here are some things to consider if you haven’t made up your mind about the plastic vs. paper debate.

According to the facts and figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling from the EPA:

Plastic Facts vs. Paper Facts:

  • 34.5 million tons of plastic generated in 2015 vs. 68.1 million tons of paper generated in 2015
  • 9.1% of plastic recycled vs. 66.6% of paper recycled
  • 26 million tons of plastic received in landfills vs. 18.3 million tons of paper received in landfills

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