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2022 Plastic Ban Ordinances and Laws Restaurants Need to Know

May 31, 2022

In April 2021, Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance that went into effect last November to ban the use of plastic at all restaurants and bars unless requested by the customer. This ban aims to reduce pollution and single-use plastic waste as restaurants switch to environmentally-friendly reusables.

The ordinance bans:

  • Expanded polystyrene products like styrofoam cups, plates, and coolers
  • Single-use plastic like straws, containers, plates, bowls, cutlery, trays, and utensils
  • Disposable food ware like napkins

What does this mean? Any dine-in facility will no longer use disposable plasticware for dine-in or take-out customers, except when requested. Any restaurants or bars that violate this ban can receive $100 per day violation fines, up to $1,000 yearly.

plastic ban

Why Plastic Ban Ordinances?

Banning plastic waste is a necessary step toward reducing plastic waste. For example, 23% of landfill waste in the United States is comprised of plastic containers and food ware. Plastic waste also gets into our oceans, coastlines, and roadways, especially since the pandemic when the amount of take-out containers grew by almost 300%.

Plus, it’s proven that plastic bans work! Studies suggest that there is a 70% reduction in plastic bag usage in California, which led to a further reduction in straws, utensils, take-out containers, and bottles. Since the United States produces the most plastic globally, we should take steps to stop using single-use plastic.

While the ordinance only applies to certain areas of LA, it’s still an important step toward inspiring the rest of the nation to incorporate essential change. Turning the tide against the sea of plastic waste is increasingly necessary for humanity and the world itself. Best of all, Los Angeles is among other cities and states that have taken steps to ban plastic bags, plastic straws, and expanded polystyrene products!

Similar Bans in the United States

Los Angeles isn’t the only city that passed a Single-Use Plastic Ban; the City of Sausalito passed a ban on June 11, 2019.  This ban prohibits single-use plastic ware like straws, containers, bags, utensils, and more at restaurants and encourages the use of non-plastic alternatives.

Currently, there is no federal legislation addressing plastic waste; it is up to states and cities to take the initiative. Eight states have banned single-use plastic bags including California, Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, Hawaii, Oregon, New York, and Vermont.

Some cities and counties have taken on a plastic straw ban in states with no legislation, like Miami Beach, South Carolina, Charleston, and numerous cities in California, D.C., and Florida. On top of that, more than 100 municipalities and cities have banned Expanded Polystyrene besides Los Angeles, including New York City, Seattle, Miami Beach, and San Diego.

As climate change becomes increasingly hard to ignore and the pandemic made many of us aware of the fragility of the world around us, it seems clear that environmentally-friendly green alternatives are a necessary approach. Plastic pollution must be addressed and replaced with compostable products. Plastic bans will likely spread throughout the United States, so restaurants should consider non-plastic food ware alternatives to stay prepared.