Chalk up a win for sanity!
On Tuesday May 21, the Ulster County Legislature passed LOCAL LAW NO. 20 of 2018 (A Local Law Requiring Restaurants And Fast Food Service Establishments to Provide Plastic Beverage Straws Solely Upon Request), otherwise known as “Skip the Straw,” 14-7, with all Democrats, plus Heidi Haynes, C-Stone Ridge, and Craig Lopez, R-Shawangunk, voting in favor.
Final approval rests with Pat Ryan, who was sworn in as the new County Executive on June 9.
Ulster People advocated strongly for passage, passing a unanimous resolution in support of the proposed law at our general meeting in May, that was read aloud prior to the Legislature’s vote.
Ulster County banned the use of polystyrene by the food service industry in March 2015 and a ban on single-use plastic bags is scheduled to go into effect in July. In fact, we led the way for the statewide bag ban, which takes effect in March 2020.
Fun fact: Malaysia and the Philippines are among those countries fed up with being our plastic waste dumping ground. Adding insult to injury, we then blame them for polluting our oceans. They’ve decided their best option is to send it back. Hundreds of thousands of tons of plastic waste in thousands of containers are heading back home, back to their countries of origin. Ball’s is whose court?
Skip the Straw isn’t THE answer to the crisis in our oceans, but it’s another small step in the right direction! Nothing wrong with celebrating small victories — as long as we don’t lose sight of the big picture.
If you are feeling brave, check out this heartbreaking video of a chef preparing a fish.