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That was the last (single-use, plastic) straw

One of these sustainable straws might be in your future.
KUOW Photo/Brie Ripley
One of these sustainable straws might be in your future.

Nothing is more satisfying than the sweet sound of a straw - a pointy, plastic straw - piercing the seal on a tall cup of bubble tea. But after this weekend, that sound might be harder to come by. Seattle's ban on single use plastics goes into effect on July 1st.

Why the prohibition? How will it be implemented? And most importantly: what about the tea?? Kevin Kelly, general manager of Recology Cleanscapes in Georgetown, came by to help Bill Radke and producer Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong cope with change.

There are good reasons to kick the single use habit, says Kelly. For one, the straws are too small to make it through recycling processing machinery. Contrary to the markings on your local coffeeshop’s waste sorting bins, then, straws are going into landfills, storm drains, and eventually the ocean.

Happily, there’s an array of more sustainable choices. Gyimah-Brempong tested a paper straw to mixed results, but there are also straws made of bamboo, metal, and even glass (plus a cute one that folds down into a very fashion keychain).

Whether or not any of them will work for bubble tea is an open question, however. No reusable/biodegradable straw currently in broad circulation has the requisite pointy tip. In light of the ban: hopefully necessity will be the mother of invention.

Year started with KUOW: 1985 – 1986, 1991 – 2004, 2012