A growing movement against plastic straws is playing out in Chicago, with restaurants and museums banning the items, and a South Side straw factory urgently seeking an environmentally friendly alternative for slurping down a soda or chocolate shake. The single-use plastic straw — colorful, functional and handed out in bunches — has suddenly shifted from consumer staple to scourge, projected by some critics to foul ecosystems for an eon.
Scores of Chicago-area restaurants have already shunned plastic straws, along with colleges and a number of cultural venues, such as the Shedd Aquarium. This spring, the White Sox became the first Major League Baseball team to ban plastic straws from their stadium. Elsewhere, municipalities are taking action, with Seattle and Miami among U.S. cities that have restricted plastic straws. New York City is considering a similar ban.