Feb 17, 2020

Straw Use Ordinances Update

straws_plastic_1200018505Madison Passes Straw Ordinance—Clarification on Milwaukee Straw Ordinance

Two Wisconsin municipalities now have straw use laws. Madison passed its ordinance on February 4, 2020 with it going into effect on May 13, 2020. Milwaukee passed its ordinance on November 26, 2019 with it going into effect on April 14, 2020.

As a result of WRA’s lobbying efforts, both the Madison and Milwaukee final ordinances include significant modifications that mitigate some of the negative consequences for restaurants that would have resulted from the original proposals.

Summary of Madison Ordinance

  • The ordinance prohibits restaurants and bars in the City of Madison from providing plastic straws and stir sticks to customers unless they ask for one. 
  • Fines are $25, $50 and $100 for each subsequent offense with a $100 limit. 
  • Materials other than plastic are allowed.
  • Plastic straws are allowed in self service dispensers for customers to serve themselves. 
  • Plastic straws are allowed to be given without being requested at drive-through service.
  • Employees can ask customers if they would like a straw versus waiting for the customer to request one. 
  • The ordinance goes into effect on May 13, 2020.

Summary of Milwaukee Ordinance

  • The ordinance prohibits food and beverage establishments in the City of Milwaukee from providing plastic straws unless specifically requested by the customer. 
  • Self-service stations cannot include plastic straws. Paper straws can be made available at self service stations. 
  • Drive-through service is not an exception. Only paper straws can be provided as a default without a specific request.
  • At this time the ordinance asks for compliance without offering a penalty. The City of Milwaukee will monitor compliance and review the need to add a penalty provision to the ordinance down the line.
  • There are some exceptions to this law where plastic straws can be distributed without being requested:
  • As part of prepackaged individual serving beverages where a small plastic straw is included in the packaging
  • Straws for viscous beverages such as milkshakes or smoothies 
  • Compostable straws as approved by the City of Milwaukee’s Environmental Sustainability Director (list will be available)
  • The ordinance goes into effect on April 14, 2020.

Questions? Contact Susan Quam at 608-270-9950 or squam@wirestaurant.org

Madison Straw Ordinance

Milwaukee Straw Ordinance