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LA County Foodware Accessories Upon Request - Skip The Stuff!

06 • 08 • 2021

LA County Foodware Accessories Upon Request - Skip The Stuff!

In June 2021, the LA County Board of Supervisors passed a local foodware accessories law that would limit unnecessary waste of single-use takeout accessory items like utensils, napkins, condiments, etc. throughout the unincorporated areas of LA County.

The Surfrider LA and South Bay chapters sent letters of support, engaged the public and spoke at Board of Supervisors meetings. While this is a step in the right direction, we support a stronger, more effective OPT-IN policy (like the ordinance that passed in LA City) and have some concerns with this one. Let’s break it down:

THE MAIN TAKEAWAY: Restaurants and food delivery services can’t automatically provide takeout accessories without asking the customer. This is progress, but we would have preferred a stronger upon customer request ordinance, where customers would have had to specifically request extras in order to get them.

Online food ordering platforms may provide options for customers to select which, if any, takeout accessories they need. We would have liked this to be a requirement of the ordinance.

If a food and beverage business (like a restaurant) provides takeout accessories to a customer who didn’t request them, the customer can report this. LA County will enforce the law through fines. This is the strongest part of LA County’s ordinance.

The ordinance allows restaurants and delivery services to ask customers if they’d like takeout accessories. It’s been scientifically shown that people are much more likely to say yes if offered something, so this weakens the ordinance significantly.

The ordinance allows self-serve stations for single-use foodware accessories (other than straws and stirrers). 

This LA County ordinance, a business ask model (Opt-Out), differs from the LA City ordinance, which is a customer request model (Opt-In). Inconsistency between County and City will be unnecessarily confusing for local restaurants, customers, and delivery companies.

“This ordinance is a very small step in the right direction, but restaurant owners have a chance to lead the way with our packaging choices. We need to eliminate plastic and styrofoam now, now, now.” - Jason Kaplan, owner of Maury’s bagel shop in Silver Lake

“While we are excited to see progress in LA County, the Reusable LA coalition of 26+ organizations wants to see a stronger policy in LA County if we are to truly reduce plastic pollution in our communities. We are concerned with the inconsistencies between local ordinances and the impacts on LA restaurants, and urge the County to strengthen this law in the future.”—Melissa Aguayo, Alison Waliszewski, Emily Parker, Co-Chairs of Reusable LA

We are grateful that the LA County Board of Supervisors and @SheilaKuehl are taking first steps toward reducing local plastic pollution. A major THANK-YOU to each and every person who signed petitions, submitted public comments, and continues to support the #SkipTheStuff campaign and the Reusable LA Coalition