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Sustainability Office

Posted on: January 22, 2021

City Reminds Business Owners of Plastic Straw Ordinance

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The City of Portland is reminding business owners of its ordinance that prohibits the distribution of plastic straws. Beginning April 1, 2020, restaurants and other food establishments were able to provide customers with a plastic straw by request only. As of January 1, 2021, the Plastic Straw Ordinance prohibits the distribution of plastic straws, stirrers, and splash sticks.  

This ban on the distribution of plastic straws, stirrers, and splash sticks applies to in-person dining, take-out, and drive-through food establishments, as well as to delivery orders made by those establishments. Businesses may provide straws, beverage stirrers, and splash sticks made of alternative materials only if requested by the customer. Alternative materials include paper, metal, and bamboo. Please note that the ordinance prohibits compostable or biodegradable plastic. For a list of acceptable alternative materials, please refer to the Plastic Straw Ordinance.

The City understands that some members of the community rely on plastic straws to safely consume beverages because of a disability. Food service establishments may provide a plastic straw to these customers if they request one. 

Businesses will be sent a reminder letter this month, as well as a toolkit that includes signs to hang in their establishment, digital notes to post on online platforms, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the ordinance. The toolkit and additional information can be found at https://www.portlandmaine.gov/2558/Straw-Ordinance. Any questions about the ordinance should be directed to the City’s Sustainability Director, Troy Moon, at thm@portlandmaine.gov or 207-756-8362.

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