Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) has introduced a new bill in the Assembly that has many grumbling about another possible ban on a common single-use plastic product. Straws.
Introduced by Calderon, AB-1884 would require dine-in restaurants to forgo offering straws to customers unless they specifically request one.
Critics say the new language inserted into the Retail Food Section of the California Health and Safety code by AB-1884 allows punishment for servers and restaurants who violate the law. Misdemeanors would be "punishable by a fine of not less than $25 or more than $1,000, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 6 months, or by both.”
Calderon dismissed concerns that his bill criminalized servers who gave customers straws saying amendments that would fix that kind of thing "are part of the legislative process."
The Assembly Majority Leader was also quick to point out that AB 1884 was not a ban on plastic straws and that many places like bars and fast-food restaurants would be exempt from the law. The ban is an effort to reduce the plastic waste we all create on a daily basis.
"We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans," Calderon said in a press release about the bill. "AB 1884 is not ban on plastic straws. It is a small step towards curbing our reliance on these convenience products, which will hopefully contribute to a change in consumer attitudes and usage."
In the press release, Calderon points out that the plastic straws are often mistaken as food by marine life.
"Plastic is a material that lasts forever, yet 33 percent of all plastics are used just once and thrown away. Only 9 percnet of all plastics are recycled, but due to their small size and lack of a resin code, no straws are ever recycled. After their one-time use, non-biodegradable plastic straws often end up in our oceans and waterways where they break down into smaller, micro-size pieces that are discarded into our environment."