Get the Fork Out of Here: New Plastics Law Goes into Effect

With more towns considering some kind of plastic utensil ban, portable wooden cutlery like these are an Earth-friendly alternative to disposables, but will people use them? (Stock Photo by Maria Ilves on Unsplash)

(Los Angeles) A Los Angeles City ordinance that aims to reduce waste in restaurants by restricting the use of disposable products began enforcement in November.

The law requires restaurants with 26 or more employees to withhold plastic cutlery and other accessories unless requested by the customer. While the cutlery is often the focus of conversation, the law applies the same rules to straws, condiments, and napkins. 

“If we are to overcome the extreme climate challenges we face, we will have to alter or otherwise transform all our habits relating to fossil fuel products, including plastics, and our essential natural resources, like forests,” said LA City Council District 5 representative Paul Koretz, in a statement. Koretz co-authored the foodware-upon-request law. “Skipping the stuff to stop the frivolous waste of napkins and plasticware is another step forward as we work together towards a healthier future that can sustain us all.” 

Approved by City Council in April 2021, the new law says plastic utensils, condiment packages, napkins, splash sticks, toothpicks, and other items can only be provided upon request.

To enforce the law, the city will issue warnings for the first and second violations. An administrative fine of $25 will be assessed for the third and any subsequent violations. The ordinance will be expanded to cover all restaurants in the City in April 2022. 

“Larger restaurants in Los Angeles are now officially partners in the effort to address the environmental catastrophe caused by the disposal of millions of pounds of plastic waste along our beautiful California coastline,” said District 2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian in a statement. Krekorian also introduced the law in City Council. “Their compliance is critical as we aggressively counter what has been a major contribution to the climate crisis: the distribution of unneeded and unwanted plastic goods to consumers. These goods are also sustaining the fading fossil fuel industry, which is a major contributor to climate change.”  

The Law, Ordinance 187030, Can be Found here

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