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Council to Consider Extending Exemption to Plastic Ban

Bob Kronovetrealty
We Love Property Management Headaches!

Have Extra Room for the Holidays 2019

Santa Monica Apartments

Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
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By Jorge Casuso

December 5, 2019 -- The City Council on Tuesday will consider extending for another year an exemption that allows the use of cups and lids outlawed under its ban on single-use plastics.

The request from staff notes that the City's Disposable Food Service Ware ordinance approved last year is out of sync with the realities of the marketplace for cups and lids.

As a result, Santa Monica's more than 900 food and beverage providers are finding it difficult to conform to "one of the nation’s most far-reaching bans on single-use plastics for prepared food and drink service," staff said.

"While some manufacturers have reached out to staff with alternative products, most of the emerging manufacturers with cup and lid alternatives are small business suppliers," staff wrote in its report to the Council.

Many of the businesses covered by the ban approved in August of last year "have raised concerns about their ability to keep up with the demand," staff said.

When the ban went into effect on January 1, 2019, staff implemented a one-year exemption for cups and cup lids that expires at the end of this year.

Local businesses and industry organizations have called and emailed the City "articulating apprehensions with the approaching 2020 deadline," staff said.

So far this year, local businesses have filed 25 exemption applications, including six for cups and cup lids.

"Despite progress in the marketplace, staff has determined there are no viable, market ready alternatives to non-marine degradable cups and cup lids that meet the quality, safety and performance requirements of businesses at this time."

Staff also is asking the Council to consider modifying the ordinance -- which bans cups, lids, straws, utensils, plates, bowls, trays, containers, stirrers and lid plugs -- to establish "a fee for disposable cups and programs that require reusables."

Approved on August 14, 2018, the ordinance expanded Santa Monica's ban on single-use plastics ("Santa Monica Expands Plastic Ban," August 15, 2018).

Under the new law, beverage lids can be "on-marine degradable" but may not be made of polystyrene.

The ordinance also requires that all marine degradable disposable straws and utensils be provided to customers only upon request.

The ordinance expanded Santa Monica's 2007 ban on polystyrene food service containers and its 2011 ban on single-use plastic bags, among the first municipal bans of their kind.

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