New Straw Ban Goes Into Effect For LA Restaurants

The first phase of an ordinance that bans restaurants in the city of Los Angeles from automatically offering their customers disposable plastic straws unless they specifically request them went into effect Monday.

Under the ordinance, “all food and beverage facilities” in L.A. — including coffee shops, fast food restaurants, street carts and food trucks — are prohibited “from providing or offering disposable plastic drinking straws to customers except upon customer request.”

The ordinance took effect Monday for restaurants with 26 or more employees. It will then be expanded to all restaurants by Oct. 1.

This is a more restrictive expansion of a state law which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last September that bars full-service restaurants from automatically giving out single-use plastic straws. The state law, however, does not apply to fast food restaurants.

The ordinance argues that more than 500 million plastic straws are used daily in the U.S., many of which end up in waterways, which can kill marine life when they are ingested.

Restaurants will be given warnings for their first two violations. Each subsequent violation would carry a $25 fine.

The plastic straw issue has taken on new focus, with several major companies and venues in recent months vowing to phase them out.

Both Manhattan Beach and Malibu have banned plastic straws and utensils at bars and restaurants within city limits.

Last September, the Honda Center in Anaheim announced it would stop supplying plastic straws to customers. Instead, recyclable paper straws would be available upon request.

Last July, Starbucks made the sweeping announcement that it would stop offering plastic straws at all its stores by 2020. That same month, Disney announced it would eliminate plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all its theme parks and other operations worldwide by mid-2019.

Last June, SeaWorld removed all single-use plastic drinking straws and shopping bags from its theme parks.

Both San Francisco and Seattle passed plastic straw bans last year as well.

In March, the California Legislature began considering a bill which would ban stores and restaurants from giving their customers paper receipts.