Wondering Where the Straws Went? Ban on Single-Use Straw Went Into Effect on May 1

Last December we let you know that MoCo passed legislation banning single-use straws at restaurants. In December, restaurants will have to post information about straws no longer being provided to customers.

Below you’ll see all you need to know about Montgomery County’s ban on single-use straws:

Effective May 1, 2021, a restaurant may not provide a straw to a dine-in customer, except upon request by a customer, or if the straws are in a self-serve dispenser. Straws provided for take-out, delivery, and drive-thru sales may be provided as usual.

Effective December 21, 2021, food service businesses must post information that straws will no longer be provided to a customer, with exceptions, and that only reusable, home compostable, or marine degradable straws will be provided to a customer only upon the customer’s request.

These same types of straws will be provided in a self-serve straw dispenser and to a customer who orders food for carryout, delivery, or drive-thru sales.

Who must comply with this law?

  • All food service businesses, including full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, fast food restaurants, cafes, delicatessens, coffee shops, supermarkets, grocery stores, vending trucks or carts, food trucks, businesses or institutional cafeterias located in Montgomery County, Maryland. The law also applies to not-for-profit organizations.
  • All food service operated by or on behalf of Montgomery County departments and agencies, as well as other businesses selling or providing beverages within the County for consumption on or off the premises.

Are there any exemptions?

Food service businesses must keep a limited supply of plastic straws available to customers to comply with federal disability requirements. In such instances:

  • A food service business must provide a plastic straw to a customer upon the customer’s request.
  • A food service business and its’ employees must never ask about the nature of the disability or for any medical information.

 

Where can food service establishments find a list of straws that are home compostable or marine degradable?

We publish a list of vendors offering affordable recyclable or compostable food service ware products, including straws that are home compostable or marine degradable. The list is reviewed and updated annually. Note: a reusable straw includes a straw made from bamboo, glass, silicone, or stainless steel.

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