Santa Monica City Council Approves Expanded Ban on Single-Use Plastics

August 15, 2018 11:41 AM

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – At last night’s meeting, the Santa Monica City Council approved a revision to the 2007 Nonrecyclable Plastic Food Service Container Ordinance to expand plastics banned to include all single-use plastics for prepared foods. This includes: straws, lids, utensils, plates, bowls, trays, containers, stirrers, cups, and lid plugs. This vote aligns with the City’s sustainability goals and longstanding commitment to the environment, which includes a goal to achieve zero waste through diversion, composting, and recycling by 2030. Santa Monica was one of the first cities to ban polystyrene food service containers in 2007 and single-use plastic bags in 2011.

“As a beach city, single-use plastics pose serious problems for the natural environment, including polluting the ocean and clogging landfills,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Dean Kubani. “With this vote, the City Council ensures that Santa Monica continues to leads on the environment by being one of the first cities to ban all plastic food service ware, including cups and lids. This decision will protect our beaches while also getting us closer to our zero waste goal by 2030.”

The revisions to this ordinance protect the Santa Monica Bay from plastic pollution while reducing landfill waste. It further requires that all marine degradable disposable straws and utensils be provided to customers only upon request. The ordinance also applies to all food and beverage providers serving prepared food in Santa Monica as part of their services.

Here’s a table identifying the types of materials included in the revised ordinance and what will fall under the “upon request” category.

The ordinance requirements will go into effect January 1, 2019. The City’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment staff would conduct workshops and other outreach activities before 2019 to provide information and assistance to food and beverage providers in identifying disposable food service ware that is marine degradable and locating suppliers of alternative products. The outreach program would strongly encourage the use of the most sustainable packaging types from a resource use and marine debris perspective.

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