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Malibu Bans Plastic Utensils, Straws

MALIBU (CBSLA) — Finger foods will be a must-have for beach days in Malibu this summer after the seaside city's council approved a ban on plastic utensils – including cutlery and straws – within city limits.

The council tentatively passed the ordinance on Feb. 12, and voted to approve it Monday night. The ordinance will take effect on June 1.

The move is another part of Malibu's long-term campaign to eliminate the use of single-use plastic items that have a negative effect on the environment, Malibu Mayor Rick Mullen said.

The city has already banned plastic bags, plastic sandbags and polystyrene foam.

"We are now adding plastic straws, plastic stirrers and plastic cutlery to the list of plastic ... that we will (ban) at the source so it doesn't reach our beaches and the open ocean," he said. "The ocean, beaches and natural surroundings are a central part of life in Malibu. We are absolutely committed to keeping them clean for ourselves, our children and their children in the future."

Restaurateurs are approaching the new rules in different ways.

Manager at The Country Kitchen Joel Ruiz told CBS2 News it'll be more expensive to stock the restaurant with eco-friendly cutlery. He said they'll likely have to pass on the additional costs to customers. "We don't wanna do that, but we have to," said Ruiz.

As for restaurateur Bob Morris, he said he's fine with the changes.

"I'm an old surfer; yes, let's get rid of them," the owner of Paradise Cove Beach Cafe said.

In fact, Morris has come up with an ingenious, cheap solution: using pasta as straws.

"I woke up, and I said, 'Spaghetti, man!' We put it in a drink and let it just sit there for four hours," Morris said. He even has a gluten-free alternative for those who need it.

"I applaud the owner for, you know, making an attempt to solve the problem," said one customer.

To raise awareness among the business community, city officials plan to provide a box of environmentally safe paper straws to each Malibu food service business. The straws will carry the city's "Keep it Clean Malibu" slogan, and the city will promote the fact that sustainable, reusable straws and cutlery are available in metal, wood, glass, bamboo and other materials.

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