Sept. 20 (UPI) -- In an attempt to reduce plastic waste, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Thursday that will impose a partial ban on plastic straws unless the customer asks for one.
"By 2015, the annual global production of plastic reached 448 million tons. Plastic has helped advance innovation in our society, but our infatuation with single-use convenience has led to disastrous consequences," Brown said in a statement.
The bill only applies to dine-in restaurants. Fast food restaurants, coffee shops and other establishments that are geared more to take-out service, which typically use straws, are exempt from the ban.
Brown acknowledged that the bill was a "small step," but said he hopes that it will encourage a discussion about the overuse of plastic and pointed to the wide-ranging effects plastic has on the environment, ranging from ocean pollution to microplastics being found in tap water.
"It might make them pause and think again about an alternative," Brown said. "But one thing is clear, we must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products."
A reduction in plastic straws could potentially have immediate effects in California.
According to the California Coastal Commission, plastic straws and stirrers are the sixth most common type of litter on beaches across the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The bill, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, is another step the state has taken to reduce plasric waste after implementing a partial ban on single-use plastic bags in 2016.