Carroll Gardens coffee shop gets head start on plastic straws ban

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CARROLL GARDENS -

As the proposed plastic straw ban looms closer in New York City, some restaurants are getting a head start on making the change.

At the Smith Canteen, it started as an experiment. Workers put out paper and plastic straws to let the customers choose.

"Within days, people only wanted to use paper straws," says owner Kerry Diamond. "It was really heartening to see how fast they adapted to that."

A few months later, Smith Canteen has completely scrapped plastic straws in favor of more degradable paper.

According to Councilman Rafael Espinal, 500 million straws are thrown out every day in the U.S. and end up in the waterways. Espinal introduced legislation to ban single-use plastic straws in New York's restaurants and bars earlier this year.

"I do think businesses have a responsibility to the communities that they're in and to the world as a whole," Diamond says.

To encourage patrons to be environmentally friendly, Smith Canteen offers a 10 percent discount to anyone who brings in a reusable mug for their coffee.

Diamond says Smith Canteen also plans to get rid of all single-use plastics by the end of the year.

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