Plastic straw restrictions at Los Angeles restaurants take effect on Earth Day

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Just in time for Earth Day, many Los Angeles restaurants will only offer customers a plastic straw on request in an effort to reduce plastic waste.

The city ordinance went into effect Monday, requiring restaurants with 26 employees or more to only provide plastic straws if a patron asks for one.

By Oct. 1, all city restaurants, regardless of size, will be required to comply.

The new straw law means the city of L.A. is one step closer to completely banning plastic straws.

L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell says the phase out of plastic straws gives the restaurant industry time to produce biodegradable, environmentally friendly alternatives, like paper straws used at the Original Pantry Cafe in downtown L.A.

"Small changes all add up to really big impact. So I think it's a great thing," said Original Pantry Cafe customer Christine Truett.

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Some companies are getting creative with straw solutions like a pasta straw made of flour and water that won't break down when used

Americans throw away 500 million plastic straws every year, according to the National Park Service.

"You just think about landfills and you think about every time a straw is made it's occupying more space in the world. If it can break down and just be back into nature, it'll just be better overall for everything," said customer Jonathan Zarrabi.
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