2019 was the last straw in St. Louis Park, unless you ask for one

Two drinks sit on a bar with straws.
A bartender makes cocktails that have paper straws in 2018. St. Louis Park businesses will no longer automatically offer straws unless a customer asks for one starting in the new year.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

From now on, if you order a drink in St. Louis Park, you won’t get a straw unless you ask for one.

The new policy updates the city’s zero-waste plan, enacted in 2017. Mayor Jake Spano emphasized that his city is not banning straws, but rather is trying to make sure that people getting straws really want them.

"Because, for example, my grandmother, who's like 97 years old, she needs a straw to drink,” Spano said. “And there are people who for all sorts of reasons may need or want a straw, so we want to make sure that they're available. We just don't want them handed out as a matter of practice."

Spano said he knows of no pushback from critics of the new policy, which the St. Louis Park City Council adopted over the summer. St. Louis Park's updated zero-waste plan also bars disposable cutlery, unless it can be composted.

Spano said the new policies come from two goals: The city wants to reduce the waste stream and cut down on confusion about separating waste.

“One of the big challenges that we’re facing now is contamination between things that should be in trash that are going into recycling, things that are in recycling that should be in compost,” Spano said.

The new policies took effect with the new year.

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