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LA City Council Considers Banning Disposable Utensils, Straws, Other Foodware

A pile of containers, cups, and plastic items
(Olivier Morin
AFP via Getty Images )
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The Los Angeles City Council is looking to phase out the use of plastic straws, utensils, and other disposable foodware.

The city already has a few ordinances to limit the use of single-use plastic items, but Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell wants to go a step further by eliminating plastic waste from the marketplace altogether.

"There is no recycling of plastic in any real way, in Los Angeles or much less anywhere else," O'Farrell said. "Anyone who ever takes a walk on a city sidewalk will see plastic waste that ends up in our gutter, and then in our storm drains, and then in the ocean."

O'Farrell points out there are over 100,000 food establishments in the Southland. Still, he says he wants to make sure businesses owned by people of color have a seat at the table to minimize the financial impact when transitioning to reusable or biodegradable foodware items.

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Councilmember Paul Krekorian adds that the disposable plastic industry contributes to plastic litter and the degradation of the quality of life in neighborhoods throughout the city.

"By the year 2050, there'll be more plastics in the ocean than there are fish," Krekorian said. "It is an absurd environmental and economic disaster for this globe that the petrochemical company is forcing upon us."

The council has asked for a report on how to phase out the purchase and use of single-use plastics. The report is expected no later than April 22 — Earth Day.

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