L.A. City Council Moves Forward With Proposal to Regulate Plastic Straws

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council moved forward with a proposal today that would require Los Angeles restaurants and food service providers to distribute plastic straws to customers by request only as a way to cut down on trash and pollution.

On a 10-0 vote, the council directed the Bureau of Sanitation to draft a report on the feasibility of creating an ordinance regulating the use of plastic straws and other options are available for business owners as an alternative to single-use straws.

``As a coastal city, we have a responsibility to address the damaging consequences of using plastic straws, one of the top pollutants harming the environment and endangering our marine wildlife,'' Councilman Mitch O'Farrell said in January when he co-introduced the motion that led to the council's action. ``I want to encourage businesses to provide plastic straws by request only, or offer environmentally friendly alternatives such as biodegradable or reusable straws."

The motion cites a recent Los Angeles Times editorial that said Americans throw away 500 million plastic straws each day, contributing heavily to pollution in the oceans.

The council's vote also directed staff to report on current legislative proposals that seek to minimize the use of plastic straws and whether the city should adopt a position.

In January, Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, introduced state legislation that would prohibit sit-down eateries in California from providing straws to customers unless they are requested, although it would exclude fast- food restaurants. The bill is still under consideration.

Photo: Getty Images

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