Alachua County Commission passes single-use plastic straw ban

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- Paper straws are a trigger word for many Gainesville residents.

Today, the Alachua County commission expanded the city's single-use plastic straw ban, into unincorporated areas of the county.

Most Gainesville restaurant chains have already switched over to paper straws and the ones that still give out plastic straws risk city fines.

So today, we did a little experiment to see how well different paper straws hold up in ice water.

Ever since Gainesville's plastic straw ban kicked in back in January, city residents have been given paper ones as an alternative at most restaurants.

"I do not like the paper straws at all," Gainesville Resident Patti Yawn said. "I have plastic straws in all of our cars so we can use them; they change the taste of the drink in my opinion."

We put some restaurant chains' paper straws to the test.

We let paper straws from McDonalds, Starbucks, Subway and Piesanos sit in water for two hours to see how well they would hold up.

At the five-minute mark, Starbucks' and Piesanos' straws began to bend.

McDonalds and Subway's straws did not start to bend until the 15-minute mark.

When checked back on them at the 30-minute mark. Every straw bent and Starbucks' and Piesanos' straws were able to completely wrap around my finger.

After over two hours the straws' durability ranked from best to worst were, McDonalds, Subway, Starbucks and lastly, Piesanos.

Gainesville Resident Vishnu Priya said, "I've seen some compostable straws that are more similar to plastic in their consistency, I guess, and I think that paper is definitely a step forward but there is something else I think that we can do as well."

The Alachua County Commission passed the ordinance to ban single-use plastic straws, which will go into effect on March 10.

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