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Kirkland City Council looking to jump on the plastic straw banned-wagon

(KIRO 7)

Many of the somewhat controversial ideas coming out of Seattle rarely stay in Seattle, and though it’s still early, there’s some concern in Kirkland that the city council will soon begin pushing their own version of the straw ban.

Getting ahead of that potential fight is Kirkland City Councilmember Toby Nixon. “Some of the council members are definitely leaning that way–I’m not one of them,” Nixon told The Jason Rantz Show.

RELATED: Seattle’s straw ban may hit milkshake fans the hardest

“A group of school children came to a council meeting a few months ago and cited this fictitious number that the U.S. uses 500 million straws a day, a number that was come up with by a nine-year-old and has been widely quoted since.”

The council is currently creating a report on banning plastic straws and utensils, as well as Styrofoam food containers. For Nixon, this is all part of a pattern in which a bit of Seattle envy takes over, causing Kirkland to try to mimic any Seattle idea.

“We saw a similar pattern happen with plastic bags. Again we had people come to the council and say that plastic bags should be banned, and then produced a report,” Nixon said. “Part of that report found that two-thirds of Kirkland residents opposed the ban, and yet a plastic bag ban was enacted anyway. It’s pretty clear we’re on that same path with straws.”

On July 1, Seattle became the first major city in the U.S. to enact a plastic straw and utensil ban. Nothing as dramatic as raids or fines occurred. Instead, the city is working with restaurants and bars to make the transition.

Plastic bans of any sort may be the wrong course

Regardless of what form the plastic takes, Nixon doesn’t believe that all-out bans are the right approach. “First of all, I think that plastic bans in general are the wrong course. We know that the non-plastic alternatives are much more intensive in terms of energy and water and other resources they take to produce. They don’t hold up as well.”

“In the case of straws, the rigid straws — whether paper or compostable or metal — just don’t work for people with disabilities who really benefit from having plastic straws that can bend. And if you look at where does the plastic in the ocean come from, less than one percent comes from the United States. Over 90 percent comes from dumping trash directly into 10 rivers in Asia and Africa.”

Nixon believes we’d be much better off using our resources to help those countries create good, solid waste management systems rather than banning straws here, which he says accomplishes little.

So how does he say no to the adorable little kids pushing a straw ban on the Kirkland city council? By suggesting that we educate people first, and create a voluntary system of straw use.

“Don’t just automatically give people a straw. Let them ask for one,” Nixon said. “Make it a voluntary system. It doesn’t need to be government enforced, imposing the notion that these few people on the city council are wiser than everybody else.”

“It’s more important to send a message that you care, than it is to do what actually works.”

Kirkland City Councilmember Toby Nixon will appear live on the Jason Rantz Show Thursday morning at 8:30.

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