Montgomery County's Ban on Single-Use Straws

Skip the Straw

 

The Montgomery County Executive and County Council have enacted Council Bill 32-20. What does this bill do?

 

Full text of Bill 32-20 (PDF, 681KB)


Council Bill 32-20 reduces unnecessary waste by requiring straws to be provided to dine-in customers by restaurants and food service businesses serving beverages only upon request.  This bill further requires that straws provided be either reusable or made from only marine degradable or home compostable materials. This initiative will help to reduce the amount of waste created, eliminate problematic non-recyclable plastics, and reduce litter.

Effective Dates

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.

How can I learn more about the requirements?

Attend one of our of educational webinars (or watch a pre-recorded webinar) to learn more about how the law applies to food service establishments, County departments, and agencies.

Download educational materials I can use at my business pertaining to the straw requirements.

  • Fact Sheet - English (PDF, 574KB)
  • Fact Sheet - Spanish (PDF, 530KB)
  • Informational Flyer - Coming Soon!
  • Informational Table-Top Placard - Coming Soon!
  • Poster - Coming Soon!
  • Brochure - Coming Soon!

View presentation about the requirements

Presentation recording - Coming Soon!

 

Presentation slides

Download presentation slides (PDF) - Coming Soon!

What can you do?

Sign up for news and updates on straws 
 

Bill

Full text of Bill 32-20 (PDF, 681KB)
 

Fact Sheets