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Plastic Straws, Stirrers, Utensils Banned From Malibu Restaurants

Malibu, the trendy Californian city in Los Angeles County known for its stunning ocean views and sandy beaches, is taking a stand against single-use plastics.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the City Council voted Monday to ban nearly 70 restaurants and food vendors from selling or distributing plastic straws, stirrers and utensils to customers. The ban will take effect June 1.

Establishments will have to swap the plastic items for paper, wood or bamboo versions. Customers are also encouraged to bring their own reusable straws and cutlery.

"This is a community based on its ocean and beaches and we want to protect those," Craig George, the city's environmental sustainability director, told the Los Angeles Times.

"Individual cities have to decide how they're going to protect the earth," he said. "We've got to start somewhere. If we can start locally, that's the best place to start."

As a Council report on the plastic straw and cutlery ban stated:

In California, '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. For this reason, staff recommends banning plastic stirrers and plastic cutlery in the same section as the ban on plastic straws.

Plastic straws, stirrers, and cutlery never biodegrade, the plastic is broken down into smaller pieces that become difficult to manage in the environment. Nearly all plastic, regardless of whether it has been recycled, still exists.

To raise awareness of the change, the city will provide local food services with a box of paper straws bearing the slogan, "Keep it Clean, Malibu."

"This is the right thing to do," Mayor Rick Mullen told the Times. Even if people have to "pay a little more for something to do the right thing, it's the right thing to do."

Malibu was one of the first cities in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags in 2008. It has also banned polystyrene foam, aka Styrofoam, since 2005.

The city's anti-plastic movement will not be stopping there—it plans to take on plastic lids next.