Bill to limit use of plastic straws at restaurants defeated in House committee

DENVER -- The House Energy and Environment Committee defeated a bill that would have limited the number of plastic straws handed out in Colorado restaurants.

The bill, which had the support of the Colorado Restaurant Association, would have prevented a restaurant, food vendor or other food service establishment from providing a single-use plastic straw unless a customer requested it.

Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver) sponsored the bill and told Fox31 that ultimately local control was a major reason the bill failed.

"It appears to me that local control is at the root of the concerns," Lontine texted Fox31 political reporter Joe St. George.

Those in opposition argued the bill would have limited what local governments can do to restrict plastic straw use.

"The average life of a single plastic straw is about 400 years," Brian Loma, an environmentalist, testified Monday.

But Loma was against the bill because it didn't ban the use of plastic straws completely.

"This bill doesn't go far enough," Loma told lawmakers.

Some businesses have a similar policy in place or have made the switch to compostable paper straws. Starbucks said it will eliminate plastic straws from all of its locations by 2020.

The issue does not bring a close to the plastic debate at the State Capitol as bills regarding regulating plastic will likely be brought up later this session.

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