New Law that Bans LA Restaurants from Automatically Handing Out Plastic Straws Goes into Effect Today

April 22, 2019 - 10:26 am
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A new law banning all restaurants from automatically giving customers plastic straws goes into effect today in the city of Los Angeles.

The start of the law, intended to coincide with Earth Day, affect restaurants with 26 employees or more and will impact all restaurants by Oct. 1.

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell -- one of the proposal's backers -- said in March that he wants Los Angeles to go further than state legislation signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that bans full-service restaurants from automatically giving customers plastic straws.

 "Although straws are a small part of the eight million metric tons of plastic that end up in our ocean every year, we know that it is one we can have really great control over, both on a personal choice, and to effectuate a policy that will help highlight the plight of our world's oceans and the danger and the threat on the environment of plastic straw waste," O'Farrell said.

The council in December also directed the Bureau of Sanitation to report back regarding the feasibility of phasing out single-use plastic straws by 2021, and to work with the Department of Disability on methods and approaches to mitigate impacts to the disabled community associated with the phase-out.

"The two-year phase-out gives restaurants and bars the time they need to deplete their current inventory of plastic straws, and it gives the industry time to pioneer biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternatives for mass consumption," O'Farrell said in December.

The motion that led to the straws-on-request ordinance cited a Los Angeles Times editorial which stated that Americans use -- and almost immediately discard -- up to a half-billion plastic beverage straws each day.

O'Farrell and other leaders will be holding a news conference at Bond Park in Los Feliz at 8:30 a.m. to talk about the new law.

-CNS