Oregon Senate passes bill limiting plastic straws

Oregon's Senate passed a law Thursday to limit the use of plastic straws.

SB 90, approved by a 23-6 vote, would prohibit single-use plastic straws at restaurants unless a customer asks for one. Drive-thrus would still be able to hand out plastic straws.

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In a press release, Oregon Democrats highlighted the environmental risks of plastic straws.

“We use a straw for less than an hour, but it continues to exist in nature for longer than our lifetime,” said state Sen. Michael Dembrow (D), who introduced the bill on the Senate floor.

“We can use a straw, throw it away and forget about it as an inconsequential part of our lives. But that straw can easily end up in the ocean or somewhere else in nature. There, a single straw can have significant and sometimes deadly impacts on animals. The viral video of a turtle having a straw painfully removed from its nostril provides clear evidence that our seemingly inconsequential acts have significant consequences for other creatures.”

Oregon's House will now have to approve the legislation.

The state would become the second after California to enact measures limiting single-use plastic straws statewide.

Several individual cities, like Seattle, New York City and Portland, have also implemented their own policies to curb plastic straw usage.