Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris called for plastic straws to be banned at a CNN town hall on climate change Wednesday night.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: OK.
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CASSANDRA VALENT, ONLINE RETAILER EMPLOYEE: We’re told that there’ll be more tons of plastic than of fish in the oceans by 2050, and it’s not possible for individuals to drastically cut down on single-use plastics while they are still so widely used by companies throughout the supply chain. What will you do as president to drastically curb the U.S.’s reliance on single-use plastics?
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HARRIS: That’s a great question, and again, if we look at — I think many of us have seen, and everyone needs to see the images of what these plastic bottles and straws and everything are doing to our wildlife, to our fish, to our oceans.
And so it’s about one, creating the incentives. I’ve seen this, again, we banned plastic bags in California and in San Francisco — and again, you know, people had to get used to it —
BURNETT: So would you ban the single-use plastic and say, “look set the standard, no more single-use plastics,” —
HARRIS: I think we have to create incentives to ban these — we have to create incentives. And there is no question that we have seen — again, we have seen innovation take place when leaders lead, and that’s what I’m talking about as it relates to all of this.
Look, let me tell you something — those little plastic bags when I was growing up, because my mother was in to recycling but her form of recycling also was all those plastic bags that you — when she went to the grocery store she would keep a whole stack of them and then we used them as garbage bags.
And so then we didn’t have those anymore and we used paper bags as garbage bags — I mean, we can adapt right? But we need to understand that leaders have to lead. Leaders have to lead, and we can adapt —
BURNETT: Plastic straws are a big thing right now —
HARRIS: Yeah —
BURNETT: Do you ban plastic straws?
HARRIS: I think we should, yes. I mean look, I’m going to be honest — it’s really difficult to drink out of a paper straw when you have — if you’re just — like, if you don’t gulp it down immediately it starts to bend —
BURNETT: Yes, yeah —
HARRIS: And then, you know the little thing catches it and you know — but — so we’ve got to kind of perfect that one a little bit more.
BURNETT: So you’d ban it, but rely on innovation?
HARRIS: I mean we got — we got it — yeah, innovation is a process, right? You don’t just do it, innovation is a process. But — but let’s encourage innovation and I think we could do a little bit better than some of those flimsy plastic straws but we do need to ban the plastic.