Local coffee company gives advice as Washington lawmakers consider plastic straw ban

Local coffee company gives advice as Washington lawmakers consider plastic straw ban

The path to becoming more eco-friendly as a state continues, the Washington legislature will introduce a bill this session to ban plastic straws. Seattle was one of the first cities to dump the straws last year.

The bill would go into effect July 1, 2020, if it passes the legislature. While, the ban would not take effect until next year, but one local shop has already changed the way they do business.

As a caffeine-loving state, we’re pretty familiar with how the coffee shop experience works. You place your order, a barista steams your milk, brews your espresso, and pours it beautifully into a cup.

But if a bill to ban plastic straws gets passed, things may look a little different.

“These metal straws have actually been hugely popular,” said Bobby Enslow, owner of Indaba Coffee.

Indaba Coffee phased out plastic straws last year.

“It’s definitely caused my wife to be super inspired and she’s kind of tackled the sustainability piece head on,” Enslow said.

The company only uses metal straws for in-house orders.

“We weren’t sure if if was worth the investment buying a full case of these or not. But they’ve been flying off the shelf,” Enslow said.

They use compostable straws for to-go orders. Though, the swap-out does come with a bit of a learning curve.

“One of the first things we realized, is they melt in black coffee or hot black coffee, and so we’ve had to put little signs up and kind of warn people,” Enslow said.

Indaba Coffee’s owner said there’s no perfect replacement to the everyday plastic straw, and if you need one for health reasons, you’ll still be able to get one.

“You have to keep in mind that there are people that need straws, like people with disabilities,” Enslow said.

While they’ve only been using metal straws for a year now, Enslow said people are already adapting.

“It’s become kind of trendy to, like Instagram about like – oh, I got my metal straw and stuff,” Enslow said.

As Washington lawmakers work to ban plastic straws statewide, the Indaba Coffee’s owner, who’s already made that move, has some advice for other local shops.

“Let’s all just start small together and i think if we all move together, it can become more and more affordable for all of us as an industry to be more sustainable and more Earth-friendly,” Enslow said.

Enslow said the transition to sustainable straws has inspired his company to think of more ways in-store that they could swap things out, including trading plastic stir straws for spaghetti noodles.

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