The plastic-straw black market – once non-existent – has grown dramatically in the last year, a new report shows.

A study from the Center for Plastic Straw and Styrofoam Cup Policy – or CPS-SCP, a little-know think tank – shows a dramatic rise in illegal plastic straw activity. In 2019, underground sales for plastic straws increased 140% as many cities made moves to ban them. Arrests made related to plastic-straw related crimes are also up 90% including an uptick in violence. Plastic straw trafficking can be a big problem for communities, experts say.

“Plastic straw dealing leads to more dangerous streets that can especially endanger our children,” the report concluded. “We need to rethink these kinds of policies, or just drink straight out of the cup without a straw. Maybe use less ice so it’s not as cold against your teeth.”

Police in many cities are adopting zero tolerance policies against plastic straw trafficking.