Jul 2, 2018

Seattle becomes first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws and utensils

Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Seattle became the first major U.S. city to ban plastic straws and utensils on Sunday — a conservation move that officials hope will decrease plastic waste and encourage behavioral changes, per the Seattle Times.

Why it matters: The idea has been gaining traction worldwide as plastic waste pollutes the world's oceans and harms marine animals, but Seattle is by far the largest U.S. municipality to enact such a ban. Other U.S. towns like Malibu, Davis and San Luis Obispo in California, as well as Miami Beach and Fort Myers in Florida have passed similar ordinances banning plastic straws.

Outside the U.S., Scotland plans to ban plastic straws by the end of next year, and Taiwan is banning single-use plastic items, including cups, straws and shopping bags by 2030. British Prime Minister Theresa May made a similar pledge earlier this year to end the nation's avoidable plastic waste within the next 25 years.

  • Per the Strawless Ocean campaign, drinking straws are too lightweight to make it through industrial recycling sorters. They frequently end up getting blown in the wind, ultimately ending up in the ocean.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 718,685 — Total deaths: 33,881 — Total recoveries: 149,076.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 139,675 — Total deaths: 2,436 — Total recoveries: 2,661.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump says peak coronavirus deaths in 2 weeks, extends shutdown

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump is extending his administration's "15 days to slow the spread" shutdown guidelines for an additional month in the face of mounting coronavirus infections and deaths and pressure from public health officials and governors.

Driving the news: With the original 15-day period that was announced March 16 about to end, officials around the country had been bracing for a premature call to return to normalcy from a president who's been venting lately that the prescription for containing the virus could be worse than the impacts of the virus itself.

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.