Want a straw? Legally, you’ll have to ask.

Benjamin Balazs

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The New Hampshire legislature recently passed two bills, HB 558 & 560, placing a ban on serving plastic straws or plastic bags. These bills are an attempt to help the environment by reducing the trash that seemingly small plastic creates.

courtesy of wimikmedia

The New Hampshire General Court states that “This bill prohibits food service businesses from providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer unless specifically requested”(HB 558-FN – AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE). According to the NH Business Review, “Opponents of the measure argued that people with disabilities shouldn’t have to ask for a straw and that it was hard to drink a milkshake without one”(Sanders).  For those who are concerned for their milkshakes, just ask for a straw, or keep straws in your car made from paper, pasta, sugar cane, wood, or bamboo that are not described as single-use straws by law. But you do have time, the law will go into effect next year.

Plastic Bags  Are Going to Cost You: 

HB 560, on the other hand, will go into effect in September. “This bill restricts the distribution of single-use carryout bags by stores and food service businesses”(HB 560-FN – AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE). This will only apply to stores that are greater than 1000 sq ft. For those who forget their reusable bags at home, the charge will be no less than 10 cents per reusable plastic bag or paper bag.

According to the NH Business Review, “Rep. Max Abramson, R-Seabrook said customers would simply avoid shopping in New Hampshire. ‘These bans could cost millions of dollars in state revenue’ and result in an undue hardship for stores and restaurants”(Sanders).

Ben Mierement, NOAA NOS (ret.)

The fiscal note as presented by the House says that appropriation and revenues will see no increase or decrease in the next few years, there is will be an “indeterminable increase” in expenditures, but to protect the environment this is a small price to pay with huge benefits.

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