Los Angeles and San Francisco Pass Laws Restricting Restaurants from Offering Customers Disposable Utensils and Foodware
There are some interesting changes to be aware of when visiting Los Angeles and San Francisco. This year, both cities passed laws restricting restaurants from offering certain plastic items to customers. In March, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to restrict restaurants from handing out straws to customers, which went into effect for larger restaurants in April and will go into effect for restaurants, grocery stores and other food vendors in October. In July, San Francisco approved the Single-Use Foodware Plastics, Toxics and Litter Reduction Ordinance, which restricts restaurants from offering customers plastic utensils or disposable food accessories with their orders. According to a Los Angeles city report, the most collected items on California Coastal Cleanup days from 1988 to 2016 were cigarettes, food packaging, caps and lids, plastic bags, plastic utensils and dishes, and plastic straws.
These city ordinances don’t necessarily mean that these restricted items will not be available upon request; they are more rules for restaurants to try and reduce the amount of disposables that are being used. Something interesting to note is that Los Angeles council members, in December, asked their Bureau of Sanitation to look into phasing out plastic straws entirely by 2021. Maybe San Francisco will follow suit or look into phasing out other plastics such as disposable foodware, which apparently makes up two-thirds of the street litter in the bay and the ocean. So, what do these city ordinances mean for people living in or visiting these cities? People will definitely need to get into the habit of asking for these restricted items.