As the chair of the City Council’s Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and Los Angeles River Committee, Councilmember O’Farrell is a passionate champion for the environment. In 2019, he led the Council in its landmark passage of the “Plastic Straws On Request” ordinance in the city of Los Angeles.
Reporting 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.
At the time of its passage, the ordinance made Los Angeles the largest municipality in California to go above and beyond State requirements for addressing plastic straw pollution. The ordinance went into effect on Earth Day (April 22) in 2019 and regulates that restaurants in Los Angeles can only provide plastic straws to customers in response to a specific request. Environmental advocates championed this law as a critical step in addressing the disastrous effects of plastic pollution.