If you want to sip through a single-use plastic straw at a dine-in restaurant in California, you’ll soon have to specifically ask for it.
That’s because of a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown’s signing statement was part history lesson, part environmental lecture.
“Plastic was first invented in the late 19th century,” he begins. “Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences.”
The governor continues: “Plastics, in all forms — straws, bottles, packaging, bags, et cetera — are choking our planet. It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it. And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative.”
The bill, AB 1884 by Asm. Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), passed the Legislature largely along party lines. Opponents argued that straws only account for the tiniest of fractions of plastic waste. And the law does not apply to fast food restaurants. In fact, a legislative staff analysis suggests it will have little actual impact on reducing plastic waste.
The law takes effect in January.
Brown also signed SB 1192 by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), which prohibits California restaurants that sell kids meals from offering soda or juice as the default drink option.
Starting in January, the default drink must either be water, sparkling water, flavored water with no added sweeteners, unflavored milk, or a non-dairy milk alternative.
Customers will still be allowed to request soda or juice at no additional cost.
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