California, The First State To Ban Plastic Straws…Kind Of

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By: Rudy Sanchez

California governor Jerry Brown has signed into law the first statewide ban of plastic straws.

It’s not a complete ban on plastic straws, but rather a ban on full-service restaurants automatically handing patrons a plastic straw for their beverage. The law does not apply to takeout and fast-food restaurants or coffee and tea houses like Starbucks or even your favorite Boba spot.

“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,” said Governor Brown when signing the bill into law.

Restaurants found violating the law will receive a warning. After two warnings, repeat violators will face a $25 per day fine, not to exceed $300 annually.

Other cities across the state have already moved forward against single-use plastic straws ahead of this statewide law. Manhattan Beach and Malibu, for example, have enacted harsher laws, banning all plastic cutlery (including straws) with no provision that allows a business to provide straws upon customer request.

Given the narrow scope of establishments subject to the law and the minor fines, it’s unclear how much of an impact this new law will have on the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans and the environment. But it might be the first step in a stronger ban or inspire businesses to seek alternatives such as straws made of paper, bamboo or sugar cane.


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Rudy Sanchez

Rudy Sanchez is a product marketing consultant based in Southern California. Once described by a friend as her “technology life coach,” he is a techie and avid lifelong gamer. When he’s not writing or helping clients improve their products, he’s either watching comedies on Netflix, playing the latest shooter or battle royale game or out exploring the world via Ingress and Pokémon Go.

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