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The problem with plastic straws and recycling

Why plastic straws can't be recycled.

Starbucks announced Monday it will be getting rid of plastic straws within two years. The company will use straws made from biodegradable materials like paper as a replacement.

The issue of plastic straws is going around cities nationwide. ABC10 wanted to see why plastic straws have been a controversial environmental topic. So we went to Waste Management's recycling facility in Sacramento.

READ MORE: Recycling 101: The rules have changed

"The reason straws aren't recyclable is because of their size," said Angel Diaz, district manager for Waste Management. "A straw is, what, a quarter inch?"

Empress Tavern in Sacramento is using paper straws that are biodegradable as an alternative to be more environmentally friendly. Plastic straws go through the machines and can't be sorted because of their small size. It also happens to bottle caps.

A lot of the plastic straws end up in the trash or glass piles at the recycling facility. However, some make it all the way to get recycled if they're stuck in a plastic cup or in a bottle.

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