L.A. City Council approves ban on restaurants automatically offering plastic straws

The Los Angeles City Council approved on Friday an ordinance to ban all restaurants from automatically giving customers plastic straws.

The citywide "straws-on-request-only" ordinance would impact businesses with 26 employees or more by Earth Day on April 22, 2019, and all restaurants by Oct. 1, 2019.

The ordinance was approved on a 12-0 vote and still needs to be signed by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

"Although straws are a small part of the eight million metric tons of plastic that end up in our ocean every year, we know that it is one we can have really great control over, both on a personal choice, and to effectuate a policy that will help highlight the plight of our world's oceans and the danger and the threat on the environment of plastic straw waste," said Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, one of the ordinance's backers, before the vote.

The city is also exploring a proposal to phase out single-use plastic straws by 2021, and to work with the Department of Disability on methods and approaches to mitigate impacts to the disabled community associated with the phase-out. O'Farrell said he is looking forward to reviewing the report.

CNS contributed to this report.