Del Mar Passes Total Plastic Straw Ban, Follows in Seattle, San Francisco’s Footsteps

The ordinance will go into effect on April 3, though businesses will have a six-month grace period

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The Del Mar City Council unanimously passed a ban on plastic straws Monday night, following in a West Coast trend to do away with the beverage accessory.

The approved ordinance will completely ban plastic straws and stirrers in Del Mar beginning on April 3 – 30 days after the ban’s passage.

The ordinance also prohibits restaurants from giving out paper, biodegradable, or reusable straws unless the customer asks for one – a method the state of California is familiar with.

In September 2018, a statewide bill -- doing just that -- was approved. It prevented full-service restaurants from automatically giving out single-use plastic straws. It took effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Though, the law doesn’t outright ban straws as customers are still allowed to ask for them, and it doesn’t affect restaurants that aren’t full service.

The bill defined full-service restaurants as places where consumers are escorted to an assigned eating area and where staff must take their order and bring their food, drinks, and check to this assigned area.

Many fast-food restaurants may not be considered full service; however, some in San Diego have still begun asking customers if they wanted a straw instead of automatically giving them one.

Before then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed this statewide bill into law, San Francisco passed its own plastic straw ban in July 2018 that wouldn’t allow for them at all -- asked for or not. This ban, which included plastic utensils as well, will go into effect on July 1, 2019.

The Northern California city seemed to follow Seattle’s lead, which is believed to have been the first major U.S. city to completely shun plastic straws starting in July 2018.

Now, Del Mar is joining the likes of these eco-conscious cities.

Alternatives in Seattle and soon-to-be in San Francisco and Del Mar would consist of reusable or compostable -- like paper -- straws, utensils, stirrers, and cocktail picks.

The Del Mar ordinance was first introduced on Jan. 14, and it had council readings on Feb. 11 and March 4, before it was passed.

The City of Del Mar assured there will be a six month grace period after the ordinance takes effect for restaurants to comply with the new measure.

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