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07 • 12 • 2021

Culver City Updated Plastic Foodware Ordinance

Culver City Council recently updated their ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS)to include important elements that match existing Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach existing ordinances. Probably the most important provision of this ordinance requires reusable foodware only for dine-in restaurants beginning on January 1, 2023. It also bans single-use plastic water bottles at city facilities.

Surfrider South Bay and LA chapters encouraged Culver City Council to pursue a stronger law than just a ban on EPS foam that would match some of the more progressive ordinances at cities nearby. Any regulated entity (restaurants) shall only use, sell or distribute utensils, stirring sticks or straws made from materials which are acceptable by the City's organics collection program and only upon a customer's request for any of those items. This effectively bans plastic utensils and make the alternatives only available upon request.

This is the first Southern California ordinance to require reusables for on-premises dining, so it sets a wonderful benchmark for other municipalities! Here is the ordinace language regarding reusables:

§ 5.07.010 DEFINITIONS.

REGULATED ENTITY. Any business (regardless of whether it consists of a sole proprietor, corporation, partnership or any other manner of organization) or association, group or organization (regardless of the manner of organization and regardless of whether conducted on a profit or not-for-profit basis).

§ 5.07.045 FOOD SERVICE WARE REGULATIONS FOR ON-PREMISES DINING.

Effective January 1, 2023, food or beverages served for consumption on the premises of any regulated entity shall only be served on or in food service ware that is reusable. However, paper liners, paper napkins or foil wrappers acceptable to the City's recyclables and/or organics collections program may be used when the food item being served requires paper liners, paper napkins or foil wrappers to contain and/or form the food item being served. To be deemed “reusable” under this provision, food service ware must be manufactured of durable materials specifically designed and manufactured to be safely and repeatedly washed, sanitized and reused over an extended period of time.

Plastic Pollution