California bans plastic straws in full-service restaurants
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday that bans full-service restaurants in the state from handing out single-use plastic straws to customers — unless they ask for one.
This makes California the first state to ban restaurants from automatically providing plastic straws. Some cities have already taken the step; Seattle also banned the use of plastic utensils.
The California law doesn’t apply to fast food restaurants or convenience stores. Full-service restaurants can still hand out paper or metal straws unprompted by customers. Violators can face a $25 fine per day after two warnings.
Assembly Bill 1884 was signed in efforts to reduce plastic pollution and will go into effect on January 1.
Brown said plastic pollution kills thousands of marine animals every year. Researchers found 80 plastic bags in the stomach of a dead pilot whale that washed ashore in Thailand, he said.
“Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc. — are choking our planet,” Brown said in a statement.
“It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it,” he wrote. “And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative.”
California banned free single-use plastic bags in 2014.
A report last year from the academic journal Science Advances said that, as of 2015, only 9% of plastics was being recycled, 12% was being incinerated and the other 79% was ending up in the environment.