MALIBU—The Malibu City Council during its meeting on February 12, voted to prohibit the sale, distribution and use of single-use plastic straws, plastic stirrers and plastic cutlery within the region to protect the environment from plastic pollutions. On Monday, February 26, the City Council voted to adopt the ordinance which will go into effect on June 1, 2018. The city previously banned the use of plastic bags at grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and retail stores. Reusable bags can be used, but they must be certified and meet requirements set out in the statute. The city also banned the use of Styrofoam.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said City Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal on Tuesday. “If people could see all the plastics that we find on a daily basis, I think everyone would be supportive of this ban.”
“Malibu is a leader in environmental protections, and we’ve made great progress in addressing plastic pollution, including bans on plastic bags, plastic sandbags, and polystyrene foam,” Mayor Rick Mullen said. “We are now adding plastic straws, stirrers, and cutlery to the list of plastic pollution that we will stop at the source so it doesn’t reach our beaches and the open ocean. The ocean, beaches, and natural surroundings are a central part of life in Malibu, and we are absolutely committed to keeping them clean for ourselves, our children, and their children in the future.”
The ordinance is part of Malibu’s campaign to stop the use of all kinds of single-use plastic items in order to reduce the plastic pollution that has risen and is impacting the environment.
According to the city of Malibu website, an estimated 500 million plastic straws are discarded every day in the United States – enough to wrap around the earth 2.5 times. In California, the annual Coastal Cleanup Day has tracked the amount of trash collected since 1992, and plastic straws and stirrers are the sixth most common item collected. Plastic cutlery is the fifth most common item collected.
The ordinance also involves the commercial use and distribution of compostable and biodegradable petroleum or biologically-based straws, stirrers, forks, spoons, and knives, as these items are difficult to compost and create issues at compost facilities. The city of Malibu will only allow the use of straws, stirrers, forks, knives, sporks and spoons that have been made from non-plastic materials like paper, wood or bamboo.
Plastic straws, stirrers, and cutlery never biodegrade and plastic is broken down into smaller pieces that are difficult to manage in the environment. It is estimated that nearly five trillion pieces of plastic exist in the ocean, which are eaten by marine wildlife and enter the food chain.
To educate the business community of the need to eliminate single-use plastic straws, the city of Malibu will provide a box of environmentally-safe paper straws to each local food service business. The paper straws have the city’s “Keep it Clean Malibu” slogan, and will show businesses and consumers that the single-use plastic straw can be replaced. For individuals who want to contain to utilize the items, sustainable, reusable straws and cutlery are available in metal, wood, glass, bamboo, and other materials.
To read the staff report and obtain more information about the city of Malibu’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution, visit www.MalibuCity.org/plastic.