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Two More Southland Cities Officially Ban Plastics and Styrofoam Use in Restaurants

Both Long Beach and Manhattan Beach held unanimous votes on the same night

Fried rice in Styrofoam
Virojt Changyencham

Long Beach’s city council approved a plan Tuesday that bans single-use Styrofoam food and drink containers. Meanwhile across town, Manhattan Beach’s city council voted to ban plastic straws and utensils on the same exact night. Both joined the current wave of California cities encouraging restaurants to switch to recyclable materials and away from plastics, much of which ends up in landfills and, worse, the ocean.

According to the Long Beach Press Telegram, that city’s impending ban is geared towards eliminating pollution in local parks, beaches and waterways, and will roll out over an 18-month period. In the first three months, Styrofoam will not be allowed at city facilities and city-permitted events. In nine months, the ban spreads to food providers with seating for 101 or more people. After 18 months, the ban will apply to restaurants with 100 or fewer seats. Of course the move away from Styrofoam itself is nothing entirely new, as many restaurants began eliminating single-foam use over five years ago, including the Auld Dubliner, Legends, Boathouse on the Bay, and K.C. Branaghan’s.

Over in Manhattan Beach, CBS Los Angeles reported on the Tuesday vote to outlaw single-use plastics in restaurants. The ban begins in January 2019, which gives Manhattan Beach restaurants, cafes, and bars eight months to adjust to non-plastic utensils, paper containers, paper straws, and/or reusable glass straws. Many Manhattan Beach restaurants have already made the plastic-free transition, including The Kettle, Shade Hotel, Rock N’ Fish, The Strand House and Brewco.

In January, a Whittier Democrat Assemblyman introduced California Assembly Bill 1884, which would eliminate the customary serving of plastic straws statewide, unless a customer requests one. The committee meets next month for a vote. In February, Malibu’s council gave 65 food businesses until July 1 to comply with a ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and utensils. Manhattan Beach was the first Southern California city to enact a plastic bag ban before it became state law in 2014, and Long Beach has been paying attention to this concern for over ten years.

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