LOS ANGELES - All restaurants and food/beverage facilities, including sit-down, full-service, fast food, kiosks, convenience stores and even food trucks, will be required to withhold plastic beverage straws unless a customer requests them starting October 1st, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation announced Monday.
The first phase of Councilmember O’Farrell’s ‘Straws-on-Request’ initiative took effect earlier this year on Earth Day (April 22) for businesses with more than 26 employees. Restaurants of all sizes must comply beginning October 1, 2019, when complaint-based enforcement will begin.
“As a coastal community, we have a heightened responsibility to remove as much single-use plastic from the waste stream as possible,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “Restaurants across the city are already switching to alternatives that are biodegradable while more Angelenos are using reusable straws, and by extension participating in helping to clean our environment.”
“The City of Los Angeles is committed to improving the quality of life for all Angelenos and the Straws-on-Request Ordinance is a critical step in the right direction,” said Jessica Caloza, Commissioner for the LA Board of Public Works. “The simple act of asking for a straw instead of expecting one will help reduce our reliance on single-use plastics.”
“The City has been hard at work all year long preparing the public and business owners for the new straw law,” said Enrique Zaldivar, Director and General Manager of LA Sanitation and Environment. “As the ordinance takes effect at ALL restaurants and eateries - and enforcement begins - it is our priority to make sure residents and business owners understand why this new law is so critical in protecting our local environment.”
The new law takes aim at reducing single-use plastic waste from littering our beaches and waterways, and makes Los Angeles the largest municipality in California to go above and beyond State requirements for addressing plastic straw pollution.
“Over two decades, Heal the Bay volunteers have removed over 100,000 straws from local beaches and waterways that would have otherwise ended up in our rivers and ocean,” states Shelley Luce, CEO and President of Heal the Bay. “Straws-On-Request is a common-sense solution, and an enormous step toward reducing single-use plastic pollution in L.A. and protecting habitat, wildlife, and people.”
Both the State and County adopted single-use plastic straw policies. However, the Los Angeles City Council action takes things even further by requiring all types of restaurants and food facilities to withhold plastic beverage straws unless a customer requests them. Drive-thru and delivery customers may be asked if they need a straw. Dine-in and take-out customers will need to request a straw.
‘Plastic straws’ include straws made from, or labeled, “bioplastic/compostable/poly-lactic acid (PLA).”
“In our mission to be environmentally sustainable partners in Los Angeles, Beacon Echo Park has already made the switch and uses only compostable single-use products in our restaurant,” said Josh Estrada, co-partner of Beacon which is located at Echo Park Lake. “We felt this was an important educational message to convey to our guests as an establishment that sits next to a body of water that captures storm water runoff for the city’s drain system.”
A recent report indicates that Americans throw away millions of plastic straws each day. Worldwide, plastic straws are among the top 10 marine debris items according to an environmental advocacy group [source].