Beginning November 15, restaurants that employ 26 or more people were required to comply with a Los Angeles City ordinance sponsored by councilmembers Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian requiring the establishments to provide plastic utensils and other accessories only upon request. These include straws, utensils, condiments, and napkins.
“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 Krekorian. “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.”
“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 Councilmember Paul Koretz, co-author of the foodware-upon-request legislation. "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."
“This is another critical step forward for our movement to phase out single-use plastics, and an extension of the straws-on-request ordinance we enacted in 2019,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the chair of the Council’s committee on Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and the Los Angeles River. “This ordinance helps both the environment and our economy. By focusing on education and changing people’s behavior, we can achieve sustainable success in the long run. We’re also helping small businesses, who spend billions of dollars a year on disposable products.”
“LA Sanitation and Environment staff are happy to support the Foodware Accessories on Demand Ordinance by providing education and outreach,” said Alex Helou, Assistant Director. “By working closely with LA businesses and restaurants, we can help protect our environment for future generations.”
“5 Gyres and our partners from Reusable LA are thrilled to see this ordinance pass as an important next step towards phasing out disposable, fossil fuel-based plastics in L.A.,” said Anna Cummins, Co-Founder/Executive Director. “Our work here is far from done, but this ordinance signals the city’s commitment to protecting our communities from the dangerous health and climate-related threats from plastic pollution.”
“This ordinance highlights the kind of solutions we are excited to see our city champion - solutions that dispel the myth that we have to pick between environment and economy,” said Melissa Aguayo, US Regional Coordinator for Break Free From Plastic “We look forward to seeing more solutions like this, like reuse and refill, which provide wins for restaurants and businesses, for our strained waste management systems, for low-income and communities of color facing the toxic impacts of plastic production, and for our beloved city. These are the kinds of common sense solutions that bring us closer to breaking free from plastic in a way that works for all Angelenos.”
Approved by the full Council in April, the ordinance stipulates that plastic utensils, condiment packages, napkins, splash sticks, toothpicks, and other items can only be provided upon request. Warnings will be issued 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.
Ordinance details are here.