Beginning in 2019 California will be the first state to prohibit sit-down restaurants from serving drinks with plastic straws, unless upon request.
It's not an outright ban, nor does it stop fast-food restaurants, delis or coffee-shops from serving drinks with plastic straws. Dine-in restaurants will still be able to use plastic straws, but diners will have to ask for them specifically.
Sacramento eatery Bacon and Butter already enforces the rule. Front House Manager Matthew Ortiz says they offer straws made out of hay.
“[They] are about 10 times more expensive than plastic straws, so we ended up going completely, still, to straws by request only,” Ortiz says.
He says the only two things the restaurants serve automatically with a straw are a bloody mary and michelada, but customers often ask for straws when they serve drinks in Mason jars.
"It's a little bit harder to get those entirely clean, so we still have a lot of people who request straws just because they don't want to put their mouth on the lip of the glass,” Ortiz says.
Restaurants found in violation will be charged $25 a day with a limit of $300 annually.
The law was created because of the growing amount of plastic found in waterways. One study suggests there are more than five trillion plastic pieces weighing 250,000 tons in the ocean.