LA County Ban on Single-Use Plastic Goes into Effect
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LA County Ban on Single-Use Plastic Goes into Effect

On May 1, 2023, a ban on single-use plastics went into effect for restaurants with permanent locations in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The ban was originally passed in April of 2022 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, with enforcement rolled out based on the type of establishment. 

The ban will be enforced first in restaurants with permanent locations, then be effective on November 1, 2023 at food trucks, and May 1, 2024 at temporary/pop-up food facilities, catering companies, and farmers market. 

Restaurants that demonstrate financial hardship can apply for waivers from the ordinance requirements.  Street vendors are exempted from the ordinance.

The ban applies to single-use food service items such as utensils, plates, and cups that are not compostable or recyclable. The ordinance also requires that full service, dine-in eateries use reusable food service items.

Regarding enforcement, the Los Angeles County’s Chief Executive Office stated: “Enforcement will initially be complaint-based, prioritizing education and working with businesses to transition to sustainable, takeout food ware. After the first year of implementation, the County will evaluate whether additional measures are needed to support businesses to reduce single-use waste. As a last resort in instances where this approach does not work, violations may be subject to fines up to $100 per day per violation up to a maximum of $1000 per year. Food facilities operating in a permanent location will have a year to reach compliance, food trucks will have eighteen months to reach compliance, and temporary food providers like farmers markets or community event organizers will have two years.”

While other California counties have passed similar plastics ordinances, the Los Angeles law has the broadest population reach to date. The ban passed over the objections of the California Restaurant Association and the California Chamber of Commerce.

At the state level, the California legislature passed a phase out of single-use plastics in food packaging in June 2022, which will require all packaging in California to be recyclable or compostable by 2034.

This publication is published by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. The publication is intended to present an overview of current legal trends; no article should be construed as representing advice on specific, individual legal matters. Articles may be reprinted with permission and acknowledgment. ECJ is a registered service mark of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. All rights reserved.


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