California Gov. Jerry Brown made history Sept. 20 when he signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1884 into law. The law prohibits dine-in restaurants in the state from automatically providing plastic straws to its patrons, making it the first state to implement such a policy.
The law, which will go into practice Jan. 1, 2019, will “prohibit a full-service restaurant … from providing single-use plastic straws … to consumers unless requested by the consumer,” the bill states.
This law follows policy that has been enacted in several cities throughout the country, including Seattle and San Francisco, which have instituted outright plastic straw bans in recent months to cut down on environmental contamination from these difficult-to-recycle pieces of waste.
“Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences,” Brown wrote in a statement announcing the signing. “Ocean plastic is estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year.”
Although California’s policy is less restrictive than some municipal laws, the hope is that it will help curtail some of these plastics from reaching the waste stream.
Under the new law, “first and second violations of these provisions would result in a notice of violation, and any subsequent violation would be an infraction punishable by a fine of $25 for each day the full-service restaurant is in violation, but not to exceed an annual total of $300.”
Brown also signed SB 1335, which mandates all disposable food packaging provided at food service facilities serving, or located in, a state agency or facility be recyclable or compostable by 2021; and SB 1263, which requires the Ocean Protection Council to provide a strategy for dealing with microplastics to the state by 2021.