Governor Jerry Brown made history on Thursday, September 20, by signing a bill making California the first state in the country to hinder the distribution of plastic straws. The bill will go into effect January 1, 2019, at which point it will be illegal for sit-down restaurants throughout the state to hand out plastic straws.
“We want people to avoid creating plastic waste whenever possible because it’s an epidemic in our cities and in the bay,” said David Lewis, executive director of the conservation group Save the Bay, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “People who really need a straw can still get one.”
Wait staff will still be able to provide plastic straws upon request; however, it will be illegal for restaurants to hand them out with every order. Cafés, fast-food restaurants, delis, and other take-out establishments are exempt from the new legislation. Sit-down restaurants that fail to comply with the law will be given two warnings, followed by a $25 per day fine, with a maximum of $300 per year.