Washington, D.C. has appointed Zach Rybarczyk as a plastic straw inspector to enforce the ban on the use of plastic straws in the District.
The D.C. Department of Energy and Environment inspector has been monitoring businesses and patrolling food courts at Union Station for any violation of the straw ban.
With an annual salary of over $60,000, the inspector has been warning business establishments, eateries and store owners against the use of straws, telling them that they’ll have to pay a fine of $800 for any violation of the law.
D.C. introduced a nickel tax on plastic bags about nine years ago. Three years ago, the District also banned plastic foam food containers. The latest ban on plastic straws is expected to prevent the area from choking trees, waterways and wildlife areas.
— Department of Energy and Environment (@DOEE_DC) January 29, 2019
“It’s pretty absurd the amount of resources we put into creating plastic materials that we are using for five minutes to an hour, and then never again,” said Julie Lawson, director of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of the Clean City.
“Single-use plastics are taking the same cultural place as tobacco where it’s socially unacceptable,” added Lawson.
The ban on straws took effect at beginning of this year. But D.C. restaurants have been given time until July 1 to comply with the ban. Later, fines will be imposed for any violations.
“Obviously there will be some holdouts until July, when we start issuing fines. But it’s most fair to give businesses a heads up,” said Rybarczyk.