Executive order bans plastic straws in Albany County-owned facilities

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In a surprise move, the Albany County Executive banned plastic straws and stir sticks at all county-owned facilities.

Single plastic straws and stir sticks like the kind found in many coffee shops will be banned from all departments in Albany County government under an executive order by County Executive Dan McCoy. He says it’s the first step in a county-wide ban for nearly everyone.

McCoy says more than eight million tons of plastic are thrown away every year, making its way into sewer systems, landfills, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Studies also show that 91 percent of the plastic we use is not recycled.

McCoy says Albany County can use compostable, recyclable or reusable items and that vendors who sell products to the county will have to make the switch.

Perhaps the biggest impact of the executive order will be for the Times Union Center, which will no longer be able to use plastic straws.

McCoy has also submitted legislation in the county requiring all private businesses that sell beverages like coffee and soft drinks to get rid of their plastic straws and stir sticks, too.

However, this would not apply to people with disabilities who need to use plastic straws. Medical and dental organizations would be exempt from the legislation. And it would not affect small pre-packaged juice and milk boxes with the plastic straws already attached.

It looks like McCoy jumped ahead of his fellow legislators when he made the executive order. The Albany County Legislature Chairman said he was “surprised” because they already have legislation for a partial ban on plastic straws and utensils for everyone. It’s up for another discussion later in the month.

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