Plastic straws to be banned at Eataly as citywide push grows

Eataly will end its use of plastic straws and stirrers this summer as momentum grows for a citywide ban on the single-use items.

The popular Italian marketplace will ban plastic straws at its five locations across the country by July 31 as part of its “commitment to reduce waste,” according to Nicola Farinetti, the Eataly USA CEO. In total, the company goes through about 18,000 plastic straws each week.

“Since our founding, we have always worked alongside our producers, defending local food traditions, preserving food biodiversity, and promoting quality artisanal products. Like our producer partners, we know that high-quality ingredients cannot exist without a healthy, clean environment,” Farinetti said in a statement.

Eataly made its announcement just before a Thursday City Council hearing on legislation that would outlaw single-use plastic straws and stirrers in the city’s eating and drinking establishments. The straws could be swapped out with biodegradable paper or metal alternatives meant to be used multiple times. Under the measure, sponsored by Brooklyn Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr., businesses that violate the policy would face escalating fines, which start at $100.

Other cities have begun enacting similar bans — including Seattle, Malinu and Miami Beach — and Espinal’s office has said that at least 65 partners have already signed onto the idea, including restaurants Pier A, Gramercy Tavern, and Freehold in Brooklyn. Environmental groups like Wildlife Conservation Society, Lonely Whale and The Sierra Club have all endorsed the bill as well. On Thursday advocates joined Espinal in City Hall Park to rally for the bill’s passage.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear — that recycling alone — cannot help us,” Espinal said. “We have to reduce the consumer products themselves, because it’s the only way to protect our environment and our sea life. But we can begin reversing this trend today, and it could be as simple as changing how we drink our iced coffee in the morning or our cocktail at night.”

Eataly began transitioning its shops away from plastic straws in April, and said they will soon only use paper straws and wooden coffee stirrers. The company also plans to replace its plastic utensils with compostable equivalents.

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