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Climate and Environment

LA Moves Forward With 'Zero Waste' Proposals, Including Ban On Single-Use Plastic At City Events And Facilities

A pile of plastic utensils in black and white.
A ban on single-use plastics at city events moves forward in L.A.
(Paul J. Richard
AFP via Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to start the process of banning single-use plastics at city events and facilities and to consider a citywide ban on polystyrene products such as Styrofoam.

Councilmember Paul Krekorian says the proliferation of waste effects everyone in L.A.

"Look around your neighborhoods, in every neighborhood, in every district in this city… you see the problem of litter," he said Wednesday. "You see the piles of waste single use waste building up in our gutters, in our parkways, in our parks, in our stormwater system."

The council will also be calling on all city departments to come up with a "Zero Waste" plan by the end of September. In addition, they're developing an online zero waste training course for all city employees and starting annual training by January 2023.

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Prior to the meeting, Krekorian said the city needs to take a bolder approach to fighting waste.

"The point of this is to not keep chasing one item at a time, but really take a broad and comprehensive approach to plastics reduction," he said.

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell called the moves taken a "quantum leap" forward.

"Our future in Los Angeles is plastics free," O'Farrell said, noting that the effort to phase out single-use plastics has been underway for years, with the plastic bag ban nine years ago and the ban on straws four years ago.

"Our current work to enact even stronger and more forward thinking policies is bringing us closer to an ideal citywide state of zero waste and sustainability," he said.

The action was supported during the meeting by environmental groups and opposed by some business groups, who raised concerns about the impact on business owners.

"These policies will significantly impact small businesses in a broad range of industries, especially mom and pop restaurants that are barely surviving," said Sara Garfinkel of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn. "The proposed policies will ban products that are efficient, effective and affordable. There is an opportunity to develop meaningful and impactful recycling policies that consider the environmental attributes of various products in the market."

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