La Plata, MD- At the October 23, 2018 Charles County Commissioners meeting, the Commissioners approved legislation that bans plastic drinking straws and stirrers in ALL Charles County restaurants and businesses. 

The legislation will take effect on July 1, 2020, but was amended to delay enforcement until July 1, 2021, and reduced the fine to $150. The original penalty was to be a $250 fine for each infraction. 

The legislation was drafted at a September 18, 2018 Board meeting and was set for public comment until October 16, 2018. At that Sept. 18th meeting Commissioner President Peter Murphy brought up requests from students at J.C. Parks Elementary School to proclaim a “No-Straw Day” in Charles County the past two years.

Other members of the Board begin talking about a public hearing, brought up first by Ken Robinson(D-District-1). They wanted to know the communities thoughts and possible backlash, along with this being an opportunity for the community to be part of this process rather than it strictly it being the Board. 

The ban includes the following establishments as defined by section 297-49 of the Charles County Code::

  • Restaurants-Drive-Ins
  • Restaurants- Drive-through
  • Restaurants- Fast Food
  • Restaurants- Fast Food- Carryout/Delivery
  • Restaurants-standard

The legislation exempts pre-packaged drinks that have plastic straws attached; such as a juice box.

Charles County resident Brian Grumbine said,” I gotta be honest. At first, I laughed and shook my head. But Green Turtle in La Plata has these hard cardboard straws that were just as effective. So if its safer and affordable, why not?”

Other jurisdictions in the United States that have banned or pending legislation to ban straws/stirrers are:

  • New York City, Hawaii, and California have pending straw ban legislation.
  • California: Alameda, Carmel, San Luis Obispo, Davis, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Oakland, Richmond, and Berkeley
  • Washington: Seattle and Edmonds
  • New Jersey: Monmouth Beach
  • Florida: Miami Beach and Fort Myers

The Southern Maryland Chronicle will continue to follow this story and bring updates into all relevant information we find, that may answer more questions regarding this new legislation in Charles County, MD.

You can read the original article here: 

Charles County Commissioners consider ban on plastic straws, stirrers

You can read the passed, amended Legislation here:

Plastic Straw and Stirrer Ban for Charles County, MD 

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...