Los Angeles

LA Law Requiring Plastic Straws to be Requested at Restaurants Takes Effect Tuesday

The first phase of the "Straws on Request" initiative took effect this year on Earth Day

All restaurant managers in Los Angeles will be required to withhold plastic straws unless a customer requests them, starting Tuesday.

The first phase of Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell's "Straws on Request" initiative took effect this year on Earth Day, which applied to businesses with more than 26 employees. The new law takes aim at reducing single-use plastic waste from littering beaches and waterways, O'Farrell said, and it applies to restaurants of all sizes.

"The new city law picks up where the state law stops," O'Farrell said in April. "As a coastal city and state, we owe it to our environment to do everything in our power to ensure we reduce single-use plastic waste."

O'Farrell plans to speak Monday morning at a news conference with city officials and local restaurant owners.

Both the state and county recently adopted a single-use plastic straw policy, but O'Farrell said Los Angeles' law is more restrictive. In drive-thru restaurants, the customer will be notified to ask for a straw if one is needed.

O'Farrell cited a report from the nonprofit Lonely Whale's campaign called Strawless Ocean, which stated Americans throw away 500 million plastic straws each day. Worldwide, plastic straws are among the top 10 marine debris items, according to the environmental advocacy group.

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