All Los Angeles restaurants would be banned from automatically giving customers plastic straws under a plan that was moved forward Tuesday by the City Council.
A citywide straws-on-request-only ordinance will be drafted for possible implementation on Earth Day in April following a 12-0 vote by the council, which also directed staff to explore a complete ban on plastic straws by 2021.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell is one of the proposal’s backers, and said he wants Los Angeles to go further than a bill, recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, banning full-service restaurants from automatically giving customers plastic straws beginning Jan. 1.
The council’s vote specifically directs 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.
“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.
The council also moved to have the city attorney draft a plastic straws-on-request ordinance applicable to food and beverage facilities with more than 26 employees effective April 22, and applicable to all other food and beverage facilities effective Oct. 1 of next year. The original motion called for the implementation for restaurants with more than 26 workers to start on Jan. 1, but was amended to start on Earth Day.
The motion for the straws-on-request ordinance cites a Los Angeles Times editorial which stated that Americans use — and almost immediately discard — up to a half-billion plastic beverage straws each day.
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