New Madison law demands restaurants cut back on plastic straws

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- The Madison City Council is putting a limit on plastic straw use in three months to reduce waste.

Tutto Pasta on State Street keeps busy serving everything Italian.

"We serve a lot of wine. We serve a lot of drinks," Joseph Perkins, Tutto Pasta owner said.

But there’s one thing they don't serve.

"We don't give straws unless we ask for them," he said.

Perkins said they cut back on straws for the last year and a half and most people don't seem to notice.

"We've ordered one case of straws in the last year. We still have two-thirds of straws downstairs," he said.

He said he pulled back on the plastic straws to take care of the environment

"They don't degrade hardly. We want to make sure we're doing the right thing. Of course we have a lot of people coming in saying they don't want a straw," he said.

In three months, restaurants across Madison will ditch the plastic straws unless you ask for it.

The Madison City Council passed the plastic straw ordinance Feb. 4. Alders said the plastic can't be recycled in Madison because of the small size so the waste ends up in the city's landfills and lakes instead

"I don't really have a preference, but just knowing and trying to be more conscience of plastic waste but I've been trying to opt-out of plastic straws and black lids," Grant Wallace, restaurant patron said.

Restaurant patrons said times are changing and plastic straws are slowly disappearing.

"A few years ago I might have expected it. When I go to a drive-thru I expect it, but it's not something that's tragic if I don't have one," Leslie Olsen, restaurant patron said.

This only applies to dine-in customer at non-franchise locations.

Perkins said it's a good step in the right direction because when he saw what plastic waste did to the environment that was the last straw.

"If I don't have to give out something that hurts the environment that makes my life feel better. We have enough waste and trash in the restaurant," Perkins said.

The new law will take effect in three months.