California Poised To Be The First State To Seriously Crack Down On Plastic Straws

California is leading the charge against plastic straws with a new bill requiring restaurants to distribute straws  only to customers who have specifically asked for one—otherwise the straws would be prohibited from being offered, displayed, or readily available. 

The legislation received a favorable 45-20 vote from the Assembly and is now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature for it to become law. (Brown signed a similar law in 2014 which prohibited the use of plastic bags in grocery stores, liquor stores and pharmacies.)  

The bill does not include fast food chains—only full-service, dine-in restaurants.

Check it out:

Commenters on Twitter had mixed reactions. 

Some were all for it:

But there were quite a few commenters who were either unenthused or unconvinced:

According to the California Coastal Commission, straws are the sixth most common item found during beach cleanups. The agency reported collecting 835,425 straws during cleanups between 1988 and 2016.

But many Twitter users seem to think the ban is unnecessary:

Ian Calderon, a Democrat from Whittier, CA, , put forth the legislature, claiming it will enable the state to meet solid waste goals as well cut down on pollution. 

Acknowledging that straws are a necessity for the disabled, he told BuzzFeed News:

It’s something that’s a convenience that we’re just used to but it is generally — for most people — unnecessary. It’s a small step, but in the scheme of things, it’s a significant step because before we even started to take this step nobody was talking about it.

Commenters were concerned for the disabled, though it’s clear the bill would not prohibit plastic straws altogether:

Although there’s been an ongoing movement to ban or regulate plastic straws for more than ten years, the initiative gained traction in 2015 when a video of a sea turtle having a straw removed from one of its nostrils went viral.  

This commenter seems to think the ban doesn’t go far enough, urging restaurants to offer paper straws when someone needs one:

If made into a law, cities and counties would still be free to adopt stricter ordinances to mandate plastic straw distribution. 

H/T: BuzzFeed, Twitter