CITY HALL - Los Angeles City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Nury Martinez co-introduced a motion Wednesday which aims to create a citywide ordinance requiring restaurants and food service providers to distribute plastic straws by request only.
The motion also calls on the Bureau of Sanitation to report on options that business owners may use as alternative materials to produce plastic straws, such as biodegradable or reusable 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,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “I want to encourage businesses to provide plastic straws by request only, or offer environmentally friendly alternatives such as biodegradable or reusable straws."
“We need to move past our dependency on plastic straws,” said Councilwoman Martinez. “Too many are ending up in our landfills, on our streets and in the ocean. A Straws-On-Request ordinance would allow customers to decide whether they really need something they’ll throw away in a matter of minutes, and prompt businesses to look into more sustainable alternatives.”
The motion also directs staff to report on current and political legislation that seeks to minimize the harmful effects of plastic beverage straws and whether the city should adopt a position.
A recent report indicates that Americans throw away 500 million plastic straws each day. Worldwide, plastic straws are among the top 10 marine debris items according to an environmental advocacy group [source].
The motion will be heard in the Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice Committee. The Bureau of Sanitation is expected to report back in 60 days.