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California Becomes First State to Ban Plastic Straws From Restaurants

The law will go into effect at the start of 2019


In an attempt to diminish pollution, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that will in some capacity, ban restaurants from serving patrons with plastic straws. Customers can still ask for them specifically, but it’s no longer a default option. So while the new law is a far cry from an outright ban, many believe it’s a step in the right direction.

The new law won’t take effect in California until January 1st, 2019, but cities like Baltimore and companies like Starbucks have already implemented very similar regulations. Still, the California law is the first time the rule has gone statewide. Earlier this year, Disney even made the choice to entirely remove plastic straws from all of their parks across the world. Ultimately, Governor Brown just wants people to take pause and think of better options.

“Plastics, in all forms—straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc.—are choking our planet,” Brown said in a statement. “It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it. And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative.”

The new law only applies to full-service restaurants, so fast food chains and retail establishments that contain a dining option won’t have to comply at all. The law could spell bad news for the parents of messy eaters though. Plastic straws are something of a godsend for kids who aren’t old enough to drink from a cup. Plus, sippy cups are actually pretty bad for speech development, stainless steel straws can break and cut someone, and paper straws just dissolve into strips of cardboard floating around in the drink.