West Lafayette councilman aims to replace plastic straws

According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws each day. This is enough to fill more than 125 school buses.

Posted: Nov 26, 2018 6:36 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A Purdue professor and city council member wants to make Tippecanoe County more sustainable starting with straws. David Sanders is proposing the "Make This Your Last Straw" resolution.

The resolution would not fully require businesses to eliminate plastic straws. Instead, it would encourage them to use more eco-friendly alternatives.

According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws each day. This is enough to fill more than 125 school buses. "We need to take action, we need to take action now," said West Lafayette City Councilman at-large David Sanders.

Sanders has been working with the West Lafayette City Council to create a resolution for reducing plastic waste. "I think this is a national movement. I think we're positioning ourselves to participate," he said.

Legislation has already been passed this year banning the use of straws in other states. Sanders hopes this will help spark conversation about sustainability in West Lafayette. "Part of the message is that even in West Lafayette, in the Midwest, we care about these issues," said Sanders.

Purdue will see a similar movement to reduce plastic waste. The university will replace plastic straws with straws made from 100 percent recycled material by mid-February. But Sanders hopes to see the initiative reach into the city. "One of the emphases is to encourage the city itself in its events that it plans to focus on reducing plastics," he said.

If it's adopted, West Lafayette would become the first city with an ordinance on straw distribution. But would the move be cost effective for businesses? Sanders thinks in the long run it will. "It isn't much more expensive and once you create a larger market, then prices come down," said Sanders.

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