City council on Monday will discuss a proposal to limit or ban the distribution of disposable plastic straws in Newark.
The proposal is a recommendation from the Conservation Advisory Commission, a volunteer board that advises council on environmental issues.
The CAC, which claims that 91,000 plastic straws are used daily in Newark, noted that other towns elsewhere in the country have banned straws, including Seattle, Miami Beach and San Francisco.
The group is asking council to either ban straws outright or adopt a city-wide policy requiring restaurants to provide straws on a request-only basis. Another option is to phase in the initiative over two years, starting with the request-only policy before moving to a ban.
Under the proposal, an exemption would be made for citizens with medical or physical conditions that require them to use a straw.
The CAC first discussed the straw ban several months ago, prompted by a group of Newark Charter School students who researched the issue and gave a presentation to the board.
Over the last two years, the students went out to all the restaurants on Main Street and asked them to stop providing straws unless requested. So far, 16 eateries have signed on.
Meanwhile, city council has already signaled its support for a proposed state law that would ban the use of most single-use plastic bags. Last week, council directed the city’s lobbyist, Rick Armitage, to lobby in favor of the bag ban.
The law would apply to stores bigger than 7,000 square feet as well as stores with three or more locations having at least 3,000 square feet of space. Restaurants would be excluded from the ban, which also provides exceptions for bags used to wrap meat, fish, flowers or plants, or that contain unwrapped food items.
On Thursday, the bill passed the state senate. It is now awaiting the signature of Gov. John Carney, who said he plans to sign it.