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Global movement Swiss first: plastic straws to be banned in Neuchâtel

Biodegradable straws

Biodegradable straws as seen during the press conference to announce the move

(Keystone)

Neuchâtel looks set to become the first city in Switzerland to outlaw the use of plastic straws in cafes from 2019, following a global trend to reduce plastic waste.

“Neuchâtel is proud to be the first Swiss city to take measures to ban plastic straws in public establishments,” said local politician Violaine Blétry-de Montmollin. The ban could come into force on January 1 next year.

The city has already launched an awareness campaign to give restaurants time to prepare for the change, she said on Fridayexternal link.

The ban has the support of hotel and catering association GastroNeuchâtel and has largely been welcomed by local restaurant owners.

In April the "En Vert et contre tout" association launched a campaign across French-speaking Switzerland aimed at banning plastic straws. Since then 15 Neuchâtel establishments have taken part, which in turn led to the Neuchâtel city authorities supporting the move to ban these straws entirely in the city.

Global movement

It is estimated that Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day, according to National Geographic magazine. This has resulted in several cities banning or limiting their use, the latest being Malibu in California, the New York Times has reportedexternal link. Taiwan is banning single-use plastic items, including straws and shopping bags, by 2030.

In April, the United Kingdom government saidexternal link it wanted to ban plastic straws, cotton buds and other single use plastics from as early as next year, with Prime Minister Theresa May saying plastic waste was “one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world”.

Many countries have already banned, limited or taxed the use of plastic bags. Switzerland’s main supermarkets make a small charge for plastic bags, which has resulted in a steep drop in demand.

+ Read more about the use of plastic in Switzerland here

SDA-ATS/Reuters/New York Times/ilj

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