L.A. City Council Approves Straws-on-Request Ordinance

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council today approved an ordinance to ban all restaurants from automatically giving customers plastic straws.

The citywide straws-on-request-only ordinance would impact businesses with 26 employees or more by Earth Day on April 22, and all restaurants by Oct. 1. The ordinance, which was approved on a 12-0 vote, still needs to be signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti before becoming official.

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell -- one of the proposal's backers -- said he wants Los Angeles to go further than state legislation signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown that bans full-service restaurants from automatically giving customers plastic straws, beginning Jan. 1.

“Although straws are a small part of the eight million metric tons of plastic that end up in our ocean every year, we know that it is one we can have really great control over, both on a personal choice, and to effectuate a policy that will help highlight the plight of our world's oceans and the danger and the threat on the environment of plastic straw waste,” O'Farrell said before the vote.

The council in December also directed the Bureau of Sanitation to report back regarding the feasibility of phasing out single-use plastic straws by 2021, and to work with the Department of Disability on methods and approaches to mitigate impacts to the disabled community associated with the phase-out. O'Farrell said he is looking forward to reviewing the report.

“The two-year phase-out gives restaurants and bars the time they need to deplete their current inventory of plastic straws, and it gives the industry time to pioneer biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternatives for mass consumption,” O'Farrell said in December.

The motion that led to the straws-on-request ordinance cited a Los Angeles Times editorial which stated that Americans use -- and almost immediately discard -- up to a half-billion plastic beverage straws each day.

Photo: Getty Images

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