On Tuesday April 19, Los Angeles County supervisors delivered a huge win for environmentalist by passing an ordinance that bans the use of single-use plastic food-ware items. The new rule impacts restaurants, stores, hospital cafeterias and food trucks, who, starting in 2023, may only use only food ware that's compostable, recyclable, or in the case of full-service dine-in eateries, reusable.
The move also bans expanded polystyrene products such as coolers, plates and cups.
"Our team has been working on this ordinance since 2019," they noted on their Instagram. "And on an expanded polystyrene (commonly mislabeled Styrofoam) ban for over 10 years. A huge congratulations to the entire @reusablela coalition. We did it!"
The LA county supervisors are the largest government entity yet to make such a move, and the hope now is this is just the starting point, especially given this ordinance only applies to unincorporated parts of the county.
Unincorporated areas make up more than 60% of LA's land mass, but only 10% of the LA County's nearly 10 million inhabitants live within those areas.
Given the rapid spike in single-use plastic-ware during the pandemic, the hope now is that this significant shot over the bow will bring more awareness to the issue. According to 5 Gyers, there are more than 40 billion plastic utensils used each year in the U.S. alone.
Far too much of this waste escapes collection, and ends up in our environment, where it usually clogs waterways before being washed out to sea, endangering numerous species.
“Today's action is a major step forward in reducing our reliance on plastics and reducing its harm to human and marine health,” L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said in a statement. “It's time we put a fork in our use of plastics and took a bite out of the overwhelming amount of plastic county residents needlessly use.”