MOTION-- In the U.S., billions of unused foodware accessories including utensils, straws, and condiment packets are
tossed away annually. This “zero-use” trash clogs landfills, pollutes our streets and waterways, and adds
to the global glut of non-recyclable plastic production.
Coastal Cleanup Month data shows that in September 2020 in LA County, volunteers collected and
recorded over 40,000 pieces of trash to total 4,320 pounds: This data shows an increase in food delivery
and takeout waste, with foodware accessories the fourth most commonly found item and takeout
containers the fifth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased reliance on food delivery and takeout and thereby increased the
use of single-use items. In light of pandemic mandates, restaurants are depending on to-go and delivery
options to survive, and the amount of single-use foodware and accessory items wasted has skyrocketed
by approximately 250-300%, according to an estimate by the International Waste Association.
Restaurants currently offer foodware accessories regardless of request, when many customers already
have their own reusable utensils, straws and condiments at home. Moving to an on-request model reduces
waste and saves businesses money: it is a win-win for establishments, their patrons and the City.
Additionally, environmental justice communities disproportionately bear the burden of single-use waste
in their neighborhoods.
Eliminating the pointless waste of single-use disposables fits well into the City’s goals to reduce waste,
increase energy efficiency, promote equity and environmental justice, address the impacts of climate
change and advance a just transition toward more circular, equitable and regenerative economies.
I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council request the City Attorney, in consultation with the Small
Business Commission, to draft a Foodware Accessories Upon Request ordinance that would require
restaurants and other food service providers, including virtual restaurants (also known as cloud or ghost
kitchens) to provide all disposable foodware accessories, including but not limited to straws, utensils,
condiments, napkins etc., only upon the request of the customer, and to require third party food delivery
companies and other online platforms for ordering prepared meals to enact an “opt-in” model for
foodware accessories across all digital platforms and applications, using the City’s current Disposable
Plastic Drinking Straws ordinance as an enforcement model.