In late February, the City Council of Malibu decided to ban its roughly 65 restaurants and food vendors from offering or selling plastic straws, stirrers, and utensils to customers. Businesses in Malibu have until June 1 to swap out the plastic items for ones made of paper, wood or bamboo. Diners are also being encouraged to use reusable straws and cutlery made of metal or glass. Craig George, the city’s environmental sustainability director, stated,
This is a community based on its ocean and beaches and we want to protect those. Individual cities have to decide how they’re going to protect the earth. We’ve got to start somewhere. If we can start locally, that’s the best place to start.
The new law is just the latest move that Malibu has made to crack down on the distribution of single-use plastics. In 2008, the city became an early adopter of a ban on plastic shopping bag with the passage of an ordinance to keep bags from drifting into the ocean and killing marine life. Critics of the new law say the ban will negatively impact business owners who may struggle to find and pay for viable alternatives, which are more expensive. Malibu’s next ban may be on plastic lids. We will have to wait and see if other cities decide to follow in the steps of Malibu and ban plastic straws, stirrers, and utensils.