Restaurant Owners Unhappy With Potential Single-Use Plastics Ban in LA County

By Alice Sun
Alice Sun
Alice Sun
April 13, 2022 Updated: April 13, 2022

Restaurant owners are dissatisfied with a potential ban on single-use plastics in Los Angeles County’s unincorporated areas.

On April 5, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted 4–1 in favor of an ordinance requiring all food-service businesses in unincorporated areas to switch to recyclable or compostable containers, cups, and dishes. Additionally, full-service restaurants are also required to use reusable utensils, like silverware.

This ordinance also prohibits retailers in these communities from using styrofoam, including coolers, packaging materials, and single-use articles such as cups, plates, and pool toys.

According to the LA County Department of Regional Planning, over 65 percent of LA County is unincorporated, and if the ordinance is passed, it will impact approximately 1 million residents living in these areas.

“All the containers and cups should be used for the second time but it just not the right time to enforce this ordinance,” Estela Moran, the owner of a Mexican restaurant in El Monte, told The Epoch Times.

Moran runs the restaurant with her husband and said though she supported the idea of cutting down on single-use plastics, it is a difficult time for many restaurants to make the transition as they are still recovering from the pandemic.

Graciela Calderon, the owner of another Mexican restaurant in El Monte, told The Epoch Times that the ban would require restaurants to purchase more expensive supplies, and such costs would be passed on to customers.

“We can’t even find Styrofoam cups, we started using the plastic cups that are much more expensive. We had to raise the price for all the drinks. We don’t want to raise the price by too much because we don’t want to turn our customers away,” Calderon said.

Unlike the businesses in El Monte, Calabasas is one of the wealthiest cities in the LA area and has taken on a leadership role in addressing environmental issues.

“The City of Calabasas has traditionally been very proactive when it comes to environmental sustainability issues. … If I’m not mistaken, they were one of the first cities to adopt compostable straws,” Mike McNutt, the chairman of Calabasas Chamber of Commerce, told The Epoch Times.

McNutt supported the ban on single-use plastics, saying they harm the environment and human health.

“I don’t think financially it will affect the business as much, but I do think that it’s going to provide them an opportunity to really showcase that they are part of the solution,” he said.

The ban on single-use plastics must return to the board for the final vote. If approved, the ordinance will take effect on May 1, 2023, for restaurants, and Nov. 1, 2023, for food trucks. Additionally, the farmers’ market, catering companies, and temporary food facilities would also need to comply by May 1, 2024.

Alice Sun