California targets removable plastic bottle caps, plastic straws

In fact, some coastal communities in California already have taken action to ban plastic straws and other plastics in an attempt to keep beaches clear of trash and to protect the environment.

Last week, Malibu’s City Council approved a ban on all plastic cutlery, stirrers and straws in the beach community. The ordinance, which takes effect June 1, would force Malibu restaurants to switch to paper straws and wood or bamboo cutlery.

“Banning the plastic straws and cutlery was really a natural progression from our ban on plastic bags 10 years ago,” said Laura Rosenthal, a Malibu City Council member. “When the city and other coastal groups do coastal clean-up days, plastic straws are the fifth most common thing that they find on the beaches. And plastic utensils are the sixth most common.”

Some environmental advocates fighting for the plastic bans cite a report that by 2050 the oceans could contain more plastics by weight than fish.

Sheila Morovati, a Los Angeles-area resident and environmental activist who fought for the Malibu ban, said plastic waste such as straws has showed up in dead whales as well as in the nostrils of sea turtles. Morovati said the coastal city of Santa Monica also is working on a plastic straw ban and the city of Los Angeles also is considering implementing a straw ban of its own.

Previously, two other California beach communities — Manhattan Beach and Santa Cruz — also passed plastic bans.

Also, the city of Seattle has a ban on plastic straws and utensils from all restaurants that goes into effect in July. Several beach communities in Florida also have passed plastic straw bans.

Under current California law, retailers in the state must provide customers with reusable plastic grocery bags or with recycled paper bags and charge at least 10 cents for each bag used. The plastics industry fought the plastic bag ban as a job killer but lost and recent reports have suggested it has cut down on litter.

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