California Bans Plastic Straws In Restaurants

State may lead a national wave with latest bill signed into law


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These will soon be replaced by paper straws and other alternatives.

The state will soon follow in Santa Monica’s footprints by banning plastic straws in places of business. Sort of. Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will ban restaurants from giving out straws along the state, unless a customer specifically asks for one. The law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

“It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it,” Brown said. “It might make them pause and think again about an alternative.”

Brown is known to be one of the biggest ralliers to campaign against the unnecessary use of plastic. In an official statement, Brown said that plastic has been a very important part of innovation and in many cases it is hard to get rid of. However, he argued that daily plastic use can be scaled back.

“It is even found in toothpaste,” he said. “Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences.”

Brown referenced the now-viral story of a dead whale found with 80 plastic bags that were found inside of a dead whale’s stomach in Thailand which prevented it from digesting food and led to the animal’s death. The governor called banning unsolicited plastic straw use a step in the right direction, albeit a small one.

“Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc. — are choking our planet,” Brown wrote.

A report from the California Coastal Commission’s annual cleanup logs show that plastic stirrers and straws are the sixth most common type of trash found on state beaches.

Conservation groups in San Francisco have claimed plastic litter that flows into the ocean out of urban drains is threatening about 500 species of wildlife, 23 of which are considered to be endangered species.

“One thing is clear, we must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products,” Brown said.