Barrett likely to sign plastic straw ban after council approval

Ban would start April 14

Some Milwaukee aldermen want to ban plastic straws at bars and restaurants
Some Milwaukee aldermen want to ban plastic straws at bars and restaurants.

Single-use plastic straws will soon become obsolete at bars and restaurants across the City of Milwaukee.

The city’s Common Council on Tuesday recommended approval of an ordinance that would prohibit food and beverage establishments from providing single-use, plastic beverage straws to customers.

The ban will go into effect on April 14, 2020, giving businesses time to “adjust their practices and educate customers,” according to a news release.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett supports the legislation, a spokesperson told BizTimes Milwaukee in an email, saying “he will review the file and likely make a decision to sign in the coming week.”

First proposed in September, the ordinance aims to address rising concerns about the harmful affects of single-use plastics on the environment.

“By design these plastic straws are meant to be used and thrown away after just one use, and too often they become litter and have a negative impact on our streets, waterways and other areas of our communities,” said Alderman Cavalier Johnson, who authored the legislation.

Milwaukee joins a number of other cities that have banned plastic straws over the past year, including Seattle, Washington D.C., Berkley, California and Fort Myers, Florida.

The council passed the ordinance in a 14-1 vote, with Alderman Robert Bauman voting in opposition.

The ordinance included a number of exceptions to the ban, including instances where customers request use of a plastic straw. The exception would address needs of individuals with disabilities.

“What we’ve seen in other communities that have banned these products is there sometimes are negative impact to people with disabilities, so we were working to include language that was amenable to a group like that,” Johnson said during an interview with BizTimes Milwaukee in October.

Alderman Russell Stamper, Khalif Rainey, and Jose Perez and Alderwoman Chanta Lewis are co-sponsors of the ordinance.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.