From now on, when you require a plastic straw at an L.A. restaurant, you must request it.

LOS ANGELES – beginning on Tuesday, 1st October 2019, every L.A. restaurant is required to hold back plastic straws except when customers ask for them.

“As a coastal community, we have a heightened responsibility to remove as much single-use plastic from the waste stream as possible,” O’Farrell said. “Restaurants across the city are already switching to alternatives that are biodegradable while more Angelenos are using reusable straws and by extension participating in helping to clean our environment.”

This move has caused an uproar in Los Angeles and its neighboring towns, with many people questioning the alternatives that will be made available. Other options, such as the reusable straws, continue to spur debates on its ethical concerns.

The initial stage of O’Farrell’s “Straws on Request” program that is applicable to businesses with over 26 staff members was implemented in April on Earth Day.

This new law comes as a crucial move aimed towards minimizing the use of plastic products that end up as dangerous waste. A significant amount of plastic is littered in beaches and other waterways. These plastics find their way to oceans and seas, which affect the biodiversity in these waters. This rule applies to every restaurant, despite the size.

“The city has been hard at work all year long preparing the public and business owners for the new straw law,” said Enrique Zaldivar, director and general manager of Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment. “As the ordinance takes effect at all restaurants and eateries — and enforcement begins — it is our priority to make sure residents and business owners understand why this new law is so critical in protecting our local environment” says Enrique Zaldivar, the Director, and G.M. of L.A. Sanitation and Environment.

Zaldivar continues to state that as the new law is being implemented and enforced in restaurants and food joints in Los Angeles, it is their role and obligation to ensure that the public, including business players and stakeholders, have a full understanding of this new provision. The reason for this is that the rule is at the center of every effort geared towards safeguarding the environment.

However, some lobby groups and disability rights groups have aired their concerns over this law, indicating that the available alternatives to the plastic straws may not be necessarily convenient and functional for everyone who desires to use straws for drinking.