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California becomes first state to fine restaurants over plastic straws

By ABC7 Los Angeles

People who want straws with their drinks at California restaurants will have to ask for them under a new state lawRead full story

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  • Hayley Miller
    Hayley MillerAccount Manager/Editor at Idea Booth

    The percentage of waste that plastic straws actually consume is extremely small. Still, a step in the right direction is much better than no step at all. It remains interesting, however, how quickly people have latched on to the “plastic straw crisis” without the facts. It’s time to look at things that have a much larger share of waste.

  • This will not move the needle on sustainability in the same way that removing one’s shoes does little to make air travel safer. But it will be a reminder, at least for a while, that millions of tiny decisions every day can collectively make positive change.

  • The straw is indeed bad, but why not come up with reusable straws or recyclable ones? It’s annoying to feel like a villain when requesting a straw, but that’s basically what this is doing.

  • Kent Smith
    Kent SmithRetired Market Research Analyst

    Folks, of course it’s obvious that one state of the US, albeit the most populous state, banning one item made of plastic will not fix all of our environmental issues. Several Californian cities have already gone beyond plastic straws, though, with many more cities and items to come (I’m sure this is taking place all over the country). But, I’m reminded of that old proverb, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”

    There is no magic wand, or legislative bill, that will magically make all man made pollution

    Folks, of course it’s obvious that one state of the US, albeit the most populous state, banning one item made of plastic will not fix all of our environmental issues. Several Californian cities have already gone beyond plastic straws, though, with many more cities and items to come (I’m sure this is taking place all over the country). But, I’m reminded of that old proverb, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”

    There is no magic wand, or legislative bill, that will magically make all man made pollution disappear. So, you have to tackle problems of this magnitude one step at a time, always keeping the ultimate goal in sight.

    It’s easy to just ridicule and do nothing. Myself, I’d rather be part of the solution.

  • Christopher Lowry
    Christopher LowryEntrepreneur

    Paper bags, cups, plates and straws were all available before plastic versions replaced them. Why is this even an issue? Old School Rules!

  • James Randorff
    James RandorffMusician, Instructor at US Navy

    This regulation penalizes full-service restaurants, up to $300/year, for handing out straws without being asked.

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    It doesn't affect fast food restaurants, who account for tons of straws.

    It doesn't stop full-service restaurants from handing out straws if asked.

    The maximum annual penalty no more than a nasty traffic ticket.

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    I'm all for first steps in the right direction, but this is an itty-bitty first step.

  • Jerran Neve
    Jerran Nevebusiness owner

    The U.S accounts for hardly any of the oceans plastic pollution so yeah this is dumb.

  • Sopiea Mitchell
    Sopiea MitchellCEO at 3toZEN

    I am all for saving our oceans, but this law is not going to make a significant difference in reducing our ocean pollution. And I am not understanding why the law doesn’t apply to fast food establishments. Most sit-down restaurants I have been to have not made it a practice to serve straws with their drinks.

    Earlier this year, there was a great article in Quartz that pointed out the benefits of plastics... https://qz.com/1189422/in-defense-of-plastic-the-worlds-most-wasteful-hazardous-downright-useful-material/

    I am all for saving our oceans, but this law is not going to make a significant difference in reducing our ocean pollution. And I am not understanding why the law doesn’t apply to fast food establishments. Most sit-down restaurants I have been to have not made it a practice to serve straws with their drinks.

    Earlier this year, there was a great article in Quartz that pointed out the benefits of plastics... https://qz.com/1189422/in-defense-of-plastic-the-worlds-most-wasteful-hazardous-downright-useful-material/, such as the huge role it plays in the fight against malnutrition in the developing world.

    As the author, Sarah Wild, pointed out, “Perhaps we are having the wrong conversation. Plastic is the symptom. Our centralized food system is the disease. To get rid of plastic would quite literally be to change the world—and that is what we should be fighting for. A world in which we phase out plastic, yes. But first, a push to change how we source food (like buying more at local gardens and farmers markets), and a push to make retailers change their food sourcing practices, including supporting permaculture organizations and training.”

  • To me there are way more important things in life than banning straws. It’s a non issue made to seem like it’s important.

  • Gail Davis
    Gail Davis

    When I was a kid, we had paper straws. I'm a big fan of those...maybe they can be made of hemp or some other sustainable material.

  • Jen Gaines
    Jen Gaines

    At least they’re doing something and every little bit helps.

  • De'Marcus Sparks
    De'Marcus Sparks

    Lol oh California you’re become more of a joke everyday.

  • A change is not a good idea unless there is a more conservational alternative with minimal environmental impact. Just like you can’t take vehicles away unless there was a better alternative to transportation. This just generates hostility over the little things.

  • Penelope The Patriot
    Penelope The Patriot

    I will make sure to ask for one everytime I go out to eat. 😁

  • Richard Kenna
    Richard Kennaretired

    What percentage of the plastic trash in the Pacific is made up of plastic straws that came from the USA.... Trivial

    What are China and India doing? Without the whole planet working in unison and suffering eaually it will be like climate change... nothing will happen. We can't do it alone

    This will at least draw attention to the problem, but it will have no effect on fixing it.

  • Reg Baker
    Reg BakerReg Baker & Company

    California needs to fine all businesses for providing toilet paper. Think of all the trees they are killing. Every business should be required to provide a sprinkler hose and warm air blower for use in every stall. Save the trees!! :)

  • James Zimmerman
    James Zimmerman

    This will make a difference in the same way that removing your shoes makes sitting safer.

  • Jacob Frazier
    Jacob FrazierMerker at Muffasta

    Love the step, but a very odd step, I take it the sea turtle with a straw through its nose video really helped this initiative gain some ground.

    I wonder though...what will happen with plastic utensils?

  • Charlotte Owen
    Charlotte Owen

    The straw ban is worthless. It’s ableist, and it’s placing the onus of environmental responsibility on the individual instead of massive corporations, which produce something like 70% of the worlds pollution. If this is to work, we need to utterly stop making straws, save for an allotment for those who genuinely need them, therefore making them a kind of public utility instead of something off of which money is to be made, and that requires a commitment from the manufacturers to not produce any more

    The straw ban is worthless. It’s ableist, and it’s placing the onus of environmental responsibility on the individual instead of massive corporations, which produce something like 70% of the worlds pollution. If this is to work, we need to utterly stop making straws, save for an allotment for those who genuinely need them, therefore making them a kind of public utility instead of something off of which money is to be made, and that requires a commitment from the manufacturers to not produce any more straws than strictly needed, which will suddenly make straws incredibly unprofitable, and I am pretty sure no one is going to step up and take that hit.

  • Katz Ishida
    Katz IshidaEngineer at Quartz

    Wondering what plastic items are the most worth banning. Would like to see scientific data and then make steps.

  • John Dortmunder
    John Dortmunder

    Ridiculous. One plastic water bottle equates to several hundred straws. Its low hanging fruit, with a minuscule amount of fruit involved.

  • Mike Russell
    Mike Russell

    What about cigarette filters? They are everywhere. Very small piece of litter, but they are a bigger problem then straws.

  • Dave Vermette
    Dave VermetteFondateur, co-propriétaire at Cavano

    I love the idea and the intention here. While the first step may look somewhat ridiculous, fines are way too small, I feel like they are paving the way to build a more rigid and structured lawset to rule the fast-food chains properly in a few years.

    We might need to work in union at a larger scale as some of you said, but do not forget that this is politic. If you’re partners does not want to move right away, show them the way so they can see the result and jump in later!

  • Adam Keasey
    Adam KeaseyIT Specialist at US Army

    It's a step in the right direction.

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