In alignment with the City of Portland's commitment to reduce waste, encourage sustainable practices, and promote the health of our waterways and Casco Bay, the City Council passed a plastic straw ordinance in October 2019. The ordinance calls for a phased approach to discourage, and then prohibit, the use of plastic straws, stirrers, and splash sticks. Key dates and ordinance information:
As of April 1, 2020, food providers may only supply a plastic beverage straw, stirrer, or splash stick on request.
As of January 1, 2021, distribution of plastic beverage straws, stirrers and splash sticks will be prohibited.
Alternatives to plastic straws may be provided upon request after the January 1, 2021 date. These include straws made from:
There is no exception for plastic items labeled “compostable,” “biodegradable” or “made from plants.” These items cannot be composted in Portland. Additionally, they can have negative environmental impacts equal to or greater than conventional plastics and are unlikely to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. As "compostable" single-use item technology improves, this is open to change.
Plastic straws should always be available to those who require them to consume a hot or cold beverage. Food and beverage providers may still sell bulk packages of plastic straws and pre-packaged drinks that include plastic straws. Medical and dental facilities may also still use plastic straws when needed.