LOS ANGELES – Restaurants in much of Los Angeles County will soon be restricted from distributing plastic straws to customers who don’t ask for them, with the county Board of Supervisors moving ahead with restrictions Tuesday.
The county adopted an ordinance that will take effect Jan. 3. It will apply to all businesses serving food or beverages in unincorporated areas — including Quartz Hill, Littlerock and Lake Los Angeles — and provides that servers hand out straws only on request. However, businesses that previously distributed straws automatically may ask customers if they want one and then only oblige if customers answer yes.
Violators will be subject to fines of $25 per day and a maximum of $300 per year.
More than 100 municipalities statewide have put some restrictions on single-use plastic products. Malibu has banned the use of plastic straws, stirrers and utensils, while Santa Monica has adopted an even broader prohibition that includes plastic plates, trays, cups and other single-use containers that will take effect Jan. 1.
A Los Angeles Times editorial stated that Americans use — and almost immediately discard — up to a half-billion plastic beverage straws each day. Videos going viral on social media have focused on the harmful efforts of single-use straws on marine life.
Previous related story: L.A. County moves toward limiting use of plastic straws