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Ban Single-Use Plastic and EPS Foam Products in LA County

04 • 19 • 2022

Ban Single-Use Plastic and EPS Foam Products in LA County

Help Pass a Comprehensive LA County Ordinance to Reduce Single-Use Plastic Foodware and Ban Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam (AKA Styrofoam) Products!

Among all the debris that we find in our local Los Angeles waterways and beaches, single-use foodware and EPS foam products always manage to top our list. Plastics, specifically single-use plastics, notoriously stay in our environment for centuries if they are not discarded properly - harming wildlife and communities in the process.  

Surfrider Foundation has been waiting for a key piece of legislation that tackles plastic waste and pollution in LA, while also supporting local restaurants as they make the switch over to reusables. This is that ordinance! 

Among other key items, the “Reduction of Waste from Single-Use Articles and Expanded Polystyrene Products Ordinance” will: 

  • Require that single-use foodware is actually compostable or recyclable. Unfortunately, as it stands now, single-use plastic and expanded polystyrene products are rarely recycled and may, in fact, contaminate otherwise recoverable waste streams. This ordinance will also maintain that for an item to be considered “compostable” it will promptly and safely break down into usable compost.
  • Ban expanded polystyrene products. Because single-use articles and products made from expanded polystyrene are extremely lightweight, they are very susceptible to blowing away and breaking apart. As a result, they frequently become litter that pollutes our beloved waterways. 
  • Require that reusable foodware is used at full-service, dine in restaurants. From an environmental standpoint, the best alternative to single-use plastic foodware is to use reusable foodware. Not only is it good for the environment, it is proven to be significantly more cost effective than single-use when taking a long-term view. 

This adopted ordinance for the unincorporated areas of LA County will take effect on May 1st, 2023 for eateries with permanent locations, November 1st, 2023 for food trucks, and May 1st, 2024 for temporary food facilities.