Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2024

As the largest economy in the country, and often an economic trendsetter, California has often been at the forefront of major changes in the United States. This has been the case with many of California’s green vehicle and driving regulations, and now it might be the same case with plastic waste. 

Goodbye, single-use plastic

To reduce plastic waste, the LA Board of Supervisors has approved the official requirement that all takeout food containers, or other takeaway dining ware items from restaurants like plates and utensils, be compostable or fully recyclable by 2023. Dine-in restaurants will not be allowed to serve food on single-use dining ware. Places like food trucks and farmers’ markets will also have to abide by the new rule. 

This ordinance will also ban the sale of expanded polystyrene foam, more commonly known as Styrofoam, in items like coolers, dining ware, and pool toys.

“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 to the Los Angeles Times. “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.”

The new law will carry a penalty for violating vendors from $100 a day to $1000 a year. 

While there have been similar, and successful, ordinances passed in San Mateo County and Marin County, this new LA ordinance will affect by far the most people, with several thousand restaurants and food service establishments and over a million residents. 

“This is a huge achievement,” Gary Gero, sustainability officer for L.A. County, said to the LA Times. “The county on its own is not going to solve these problems… but when the county acts, that means the ideas are ready to spread.”

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