West Hollywood’s City Council moved forward Tuesday with a proposal to ban all providers of prepared food and beverages from giving away non-compostable single-use foodware accessory items such as plastic straws, utensils, containers, lids, cups, and any other single-use dinnerware items.
City staff presented councilmembers with a notably thorough study on the new policy and its potential ramifications. Last year, staff members were criticized for underwhelming business outreach efforts in advance of the minimum wage increase proposal.
This time, city staff’s research and the feedback they received from local businesses yielded valuable data and identified several obstacles to implementation.
Access to the environmentally friendly products that will replace traditional non-compostable single-use foodware accessory plastic items is limited at present, staff reported. Most are manufactured internationally and are therefore affected by supply chain issues currently plaguing the globe. While straws and cutlery are widely available, items such as hot cups and lids are in short supply.
A survey of local businesses showed that a vast majority oppose the ordinance as written. They feel that state laws governing single-use plastics are already sufficient.
The proposal would move violations of the ordinance into the Schedule C category, where fines can reach $1,000 after a written warning has first been issued.
Two likely candidates in the upcoming WeHo City Council elections spoke publicly on the issue. “Addressing plastic waste is imperative,” said Marquita Thomas, “And WeHo has led the way. But environmental policies are only effective if they’re practical.”
Thomas, the executive director of the Los Angeles LGBT Chamber of Commerce and a member of WeHo’s Planning Commission, advocated for more time for the transition. Zekiah Wright, a local attorney and a member of WeHo’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, said the ban on single-use plastics was a good start, but that much more needed to be done.
“Our city should use its ingenuity to find ways to hold these larger corporations accountable,” Wright said. “I’m thankful and excited but I’m hoping we continue to push the envelope.’
City Council unanimously approved the proposal with two amendments. First, the implementation deadline for large businesses was moved from June 1, 2023, to January 1, 2023. Second, the list of items was clarified to include:
· Cup lids
· Cup sleeves
· Food or beverage trays
· Condiment packets and saucers
· Spill Plugs
Access to the environmentally friendly products that will replace traditional plastic items is limited at present, staff reported. Most are manufactured internationally and are therefore affected by supply chain issues currently plaguing the globe. While straws and cutlery are widely available, items such as hot cups and lids are in short supply.
A survey of local businesses showed that a vast majority oppose the ordinance as written. They don’t think enough time to transition to the new policies has been allotted, and they feel that state laws governing single-use plastics are already sufficient.
The proposal would move violations of the ordinance into the Schedule C category, where fines can reach as high as $1,000.
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Customers should take it upon themselves to refuse these plastics until they are illegal. If we do not have a livable planet, we will not be able to house the unhoused.
THIS is what the City Council spends time on? When we have homeless people EVERYWHERE, crime rising uncontrollably, pedestrians struck by cars, and deputies who do NOTHING but collect money from the City and let crime rise unabated? THIS is what they focus on? They couldn’t be destroying the quality of life of the old West Hollywood (the GAY one!) if they tried. And it looks like they’re trying hard. They ought to rename the City Council as the Stepping Stoners for the all marijuana dispensary coddling (money, money, money!) and the fact that the entire City Council couldn’t care… Read more »
PLEASE note that concern over plastic pollution which is a serious environmental hazard and the need for environmentally friendly options does NOT run counter to the very legitimate concerns you brought up ❗ As I have pointed out in a previous WEHOville comment there is readily available option made from seaweed-based material which is totally biodegradable, marine-degradable, and non-GMO. It even looks like plastic and, works just as well. It’s even eatable❗♻
I don’t have a problem with this is there a subsidize products on the market that can be provided. If I am eating in I don’t mind using reusable silverware, but I am taking it to go I need to have a plastic alternative so I can eat my food!!
Heretofore I was under the impression only #1 and #2 plastics go into our recyclables. Is it really #1 and #5 instead?
The biggest offenders are China, India, and Indonesia BY FAR! They aren’t going to do a thing to reduce the use of plastic.
America takes on itself the guilt of the world as if we are responsible for all that is wrong.
Yup. It makes them feel good for passing these silly laws. Meanwhile we have real problems such as crime, drug addicts on the street, the mentally ill on the street. But they’re worried about straws.
A couple of recommendations:
Without these, the ordinance won’t mean much. Athens might dump your container in the wrong place.
Easy work around for giving plastic ware to the customer, charge 1cent for each place serving. That way it isn’t free and the Counciltwits can’t do anything to stop it.
How does having the consumer pay 1 cent help the environment? You think anyone is going to bat an eye at 1 penny? I’m sure the move to combustable material will be absorbed into costs on the menu. Nobody is proposing that it will be “free.” Noticed the inflation of restaurant menu items, already?
You missed the point Randy.
Guess he needed hand puppets also to explain it.
Thank you both for your condescending comments. I fully understood the point.
I’m going to use purple plastic all the time … it will be like flipping the finger at the political hacks sitting on that City council. They are the enemy elites…although they’re really not elites because they’re so common.
Is this another thing, like the mask mandate, that the Sheriff’s department will be in charge of enforcing and will not? Will I need to cup my hand to receive my piping hot fair-trade Oak-milk free-range latte or will I just put my head under the spigot?
Honestly, we all love the Earth and want to do what’s best for the environment but the overkill coming from the Council would make Euell Gibbobs want to club a baby seal..
No. This is a code enforcement issue. This is *not* overkill. It has been implemented in neighboring cities, and in the bay area. Watch the Council meeting.
We cannot continue to use COVID as an excuse for ignoring the environment. COVID will be with us for a long while. Our planet, maybe not as long. They are giving businesses (especially small businesses) *plenty* of time to adhere to this, and have built into the ordinance a section for researching supply chain/cost issues within 90 days of these goals, which makes it a flexible policy, allowing for the changes of dates.
Oh, you mean like the “Code Enforcement” issue of banning gasoline-powered leaf blowers? A fat lot of good that did, didn’t it? A law that is not, or cannot, be enforced breeds contempt for the Law.
At least one current member of council has openly stated that WeHo has many codes that are not enforced. Many of the codes are purely performative bullpuckey.
How about banning anything from China? That would be a good start if you really want to hit hard those that are the worst polluters of the planet.
Wherever you live, whatever you do, I’d like to see the things that would disappear in your life, instantly, this very moment, if we “banned all things from China.” For example, any electronics in your home, at all? Obviously, as you are posting here, on some communication device, which I can pretty much guarantee was built, or partially built, in China, or with Chinese components. Americans are so filthy, that we actually ship some of our recycling to China. No joke.
So, many preach we should abandon oil refineries bc the oil industry is horrible? Wait in 20 years, the automotive electric battery industry and mining will be under attack. And guess who is gobbling up all of the lithium mines???? CHINA. Especially after the fall of the US in Afghanistan. Regarding US trash, China and many 3rd world countries have bought our trash. Many are stopping this.
My comments were directed at those that are consumed with banning plastic straws. As if that’s gonna have a real impact. If they really had a strong conviction and they really wanted to make an impact, stop wasting your time with silly things. They should be banning those that are the biggest polluters. And just for the record, I tend to try to avoid buying anything made in China. But that wasn’t my point and you missed it altogether.
You didn’t mention plastic straws. You said “anything from China.” Did I mis-read? Or were you referring to all take-out server-ware?