As you may have heard, today is Earth Day! And if you live in Los Angeles — and were planning to make a splashy, romantic gesture to the Earth by triumphantly walking into your favorite eatery and saying, “No plastic straw for me! I’m a person who loves the planet!” — we have some difficult news. The city is already one step ahead of you, my friend. Los Angeles’ ban on plastic straws goes into effect today. Which means, if the most you’re willing to do for the planet is drink out of a cup with your mouth, you better find some other ways you can help, fast.
The ban currently applies to businesses with more than 26 employees, with a small window offered to businesses with smaller staffs — such as streetcar vendors and independent food trucks — to comply with the ban by October. Health and medical facilities are completely exempt from the regulation.
Los Angeles’ ban on plastic straws, first introduced by LA council members Mitch O’Farrell and Nury Martinez last year, will affect an estimated 32,000 facilities across Los Angeles, according to LAist.
It’s a step forward in the right direction on a day when we should all be reflecting on our planetary impact. And before you get all cynical and start thinking this move is too little too late, just keep in mind that the ocean is full of plastics that can take 200-300 years to decompose, and will likely contain more plastic than fish by 2050. And less plastic being thrown out is….less plastic being thrown out that can end up in the ocean. That’s a good thing. We all need to do our part to become better stewards of the environment, no matter how big or small. So, you can take all that negativity, and shove it right into…. doing something positive and actionable to help the Earth! And then we’ll, you know, thank you for it.