Plastic straws may soon join plastic bags in exile

Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images
Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images

In a move that seems right in line with recent legislation designed to rid landfills of plastic bags and disposable coffee cups, a California legislator just proposed a bill that would make it illegal for servers and bartenders to serve a drink with a straw in it without being explicitly asked.


According to ABC Bay Area affiliate KTNV, the bill, introduced by California Majority Leader Ian Calderon last week, would only apply to sit-down restaurants, not fast-food places or bars.

While the “illegal” designation may seem a bit harsh, the National Parks Service reports that “Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day,” enough to “fill over 125 school buses” daily. The non-recyclable straws also wind up in the ocean, becoming hazardous to wildlife; according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “straws are one of the top 10 plastic items found littering marine environments.” Plastic straws are already banned in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom and the food concession areas of Smithsonian Institution museums, according to The Washington Post.

This movement has led some efforts to push recyclable straws, like a metal version, which sounds like a worthwhile investment for straw fans to start carrying around on their drinking expeditions.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.


Cayde-6's Unloaded Dice

Metal straws are a bad idea. They’re unsanitary as hell, because they’re nigh-impossible for dishwashers to clean. You’ll be drinking other people’s germs that have been growing in the remnants of whatever the last few drinks were.

And, you know, people would steal them from restaurants, just like copper Mule mugs.