WEST LAFAYETTE – West Lafayette restaurants and food providers were put on notice Monday night, as the city council gave its unanimous blessing to a measure that urges a reduction in plastic straws, utensils and other goods in what is thought to be a first of its kind move for a city in Indiana.
The plastic straw resolution did not go as far as an outright ban or carry restrictions that would carry fines.
Instead, the measure, backed by the city’s Go Greener Commission at the Purdue Student Sustainability Council, was meant to stir a conversation about changing habits when it comes to plastic ware in West Lafayette, said David Sanders, a Democratic city council member who sponsored the resolution as a Midwest response to cities along the coasts going with outright bans to keep plastic out of the oceans.
“It’s not just an issue of, ‘We’re trying to reduce all plastics,’ but we’re focusing on stirrers and straws,” Sanders said, as he detailed that state law, passed in 2016, kept cities from putting restrictions on containers, including single-use plastic bags. “(Stirrers and straws) have their own particular harmful effects on the environment.”
The resolution, even without set fines or city mechanisms to call out restaurants that ignored the city’s pleas, had met with some skeptical business owners as early versions of Sanders’ measure made the rounds.