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Local restaurants weigh in on proposed legislation to limit use of plastic straws

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When you go to a restaurant, do you get a straw with your drink?

Illinois lawmakers are pushing to limit the use of plastic products in restaurants.

The new legislation would only allow you to get things like plastic straws and bags, by request.

Ice, the beverage and a straw is what you get when you order a drink at most local restaurants in Quincy.

At Chicks on the River in Quincy, handing out plastic products, like straws, are routine.

"He just stuck it in my cup," customer Kevin Snyder said.

But, that could soon change. In Springfield Tuesday, State Representative Ann Williams and State Senator Melinda Bush pushed to reduce single-use plastic in restaurants to decrease pollution in great lakes and other water ways.

The proposal would mean plastic straws would only be given to people when requested.

"If they ask for a straw, we'll give them a straw," Chicks on the River Asst. Manager Sonny Little said. "Basically, we just won't give out straws unless they want one."

It's a concept some customers aren't on board with.

"We keep making laws, I don't know," Snyder said. "A plastic straw, are we really saving anything?"

Other customers said they shouldn't be allowed at all.

"It's too important not to start trying things to help our environment," customer Beth Kenney said.

Little said aside from possibly ordering fewer straws, it won't be much different.

"As far as the flow of our restaurant, if they want a straw, we can give them a straw," Little said. "We just won't hand out straws with our drinks."

The legislation also includes creating a statewide container deposit and establishing a statewide 10 cent carryout bag fee.

Little said knowing what plastic does to the environment should be the final straw.

"I've seen stats on like plastic in the ocean and all that," Little said. "I think the more you do, the better. I think it's good to minimize waste in any waterways, obviously a good thing."

Lawmakers said they're hoping the General Assembly will act on the legislation this spring.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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