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California leads the way with “Straws on Request”

~by Kim Jelfs

California has become the first state in the nation to address the issue of single-use plastic pollution with its straws on request policy [1].  Beginning January 1, 2019, dine-in, full-service restaurants can provide straws only when requested by customers. (Fast food restaurants are exempt). In his signing statement for Assembly Bill 1884, Gov. Brown drew attention to the devastating effects of plastic pollution on marine life.

But some cities are taking even tougher measures – Santa Cruz, Seattle, Fort Myers, Vancouver, and San Francisco have all approved bans on plastic straws. Malibu has expanded the ban to include other plasticware like stirrers and cutlery [2] and our neighbors in Sunnyvale are considering a study issue to ban single-use plastics. These efforts are essential if we wish to reduce the estimated 8 million tons of plastic entering the oceans every year [3].

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