Los Angeles'Plastic Ban mandates restaurants to provide compostable or recyclable food containers and utensils, effective immediately

May 11 , 2023

On May 1, 2023, the Los Angeles County Disposable Foodware and Polystyrene Foam Products Waste Reduction Ordinance officially goes into effect. The ordinance was passed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in April 2022 with the aim of reducing waste and litter in communities and waterways, while strengthening efforts towards sustainability.


This ordinance applies to food facilities and retail establishments located within the unincorporated areas of the county, as well as food facilities within county facilities.


Current provisions include:


Restaurants that offer dine-in services are required to provide reusable utensils for their dine-in customers.

Food facilities such as restaurants, buffets, and food trucks located in unincorporated areas are prohibited from providing customers with disposable utensils unless requested by the customer.

Online food ordering platforms are required to provide an option for customers to choose disposable utensils, if desired, when placing an order.

Starting from May 1, 2023, the following measures will be phased in:


Disposable items provided to customers by food facilities, such as food containers, cups, plates, and utensil accessories, must be compostable or recyclable.

Retail sales of products made from expanded polystyrene (commonly known as "foam polystyrene"), such as coolers, packaging materials, disposable items (e.g., cups, plates, and similar items), and pool toys, are prohibited unless these products are packaged in durable materials.

Over the next two years, Los Angeles County will implement phased enforcement for different types of suppliers.


Fixed-location restaurants will have one year to comply with the standards, food trucks will have 18 months, and temporary food suppliers like farmers' markets or community event organizers will have two years.


Exemptions include street vendors and restaurants that can demonstrate economic hardship or an inability to safely supply food with alternative packaging.


The goal of this ordinance is to gradually phase out single-use plastics while working collaboratively with restaurants to facilitate this transition.


Los Angeles County officials stated, "After the first year of implementation, the county government will evaluate whether additional measures are needed to support businesses in reducing single-use waste."


Officials mentioned that violations may result in fines of $100 per day, up to a maximum of $1,000 per year.


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