California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will eliminate the use of plastic straws in restaurants. Under the new bill, restaurants will be prohibited from putting straws in customers’ drinks unless they specifically ask for one.
At this time, it applies only to dine-in restaurants and fast food establishments are exempt, which ironically are the biggest source of straw pollution.
Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle, “It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it,” Brown said. “And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative. But one thing is clear, we must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products.”
He also said plastic has “become so ubiquitous it now pervades every aspect of our modern life.”
If the new law is violated, they will face a $25-per-day fine to the restaurant, with a maximum of $300 a year. A previous version wanted to fine servers $1,000 and send them to jail for 6 months.
Interestingly enough, plastic straws are not the ocean’s biggest polluter – cigarette butts are.