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EPS Ordinance FAQs

 
  • What is the ordinance about?

    The ordinance adds a chapter (8.63) to the municipal code of Long Beach which prohibits the use of single-use food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, rigid polystyrene #6, and non-recyclable and non-compostable material for prepared food distribution.

  • Why did the city adopt this ordinance?

    Litter Prevention - EPS is uniquely problematic as litter because it is lightweight, breaks up into microplastic during travel, becoming hard to recover and clean up, and takes over 500 years to degrade in the environment- if ever.

    Public Health - The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that styrene is a “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen.”

    Promotes environment sustainability practices in the City - Food-soiled EPS is not recyclable and therefore this ordinance will promote more sustainable options.

  • When will the ordinance take effect?

    The ordinance was signed on May 4, 2018 by the mayor and will be adopted 30 days from this date on June 3, 2018. It will then take effect in three phases.

    First Phase - No City facilities, City contractors, City-sponsored events or City-permitted events shall distribute or utilize disposable food service ware containing polystyrene on or after three (3) months following the adoption of the ordinance. City-sponsored or City-permitted events for which authorizations or permits were issued prior to the operative date of this Ordinance are exempt. City-sponsored or City-permitted events which are authorized or permitted for multiple years must comply within three hundred sixty-five (365) days of the operative of this ordinance.

    Second Phase - No Food Provider shall distribute or utilize disposable food service ware containing polystyrene on or after nine (9) months following the operative date of the ordinance.

    Third Phase - No Small Food Provider shall distribute or utilize disposable food service ware containing polystyrene on or after eighteen (18) months following the operative date of the ordinance. D. No person shall sell or distribute Polystyrene Beads for crafts or as filler for bean bags, or Polystyrene Coolers on or after eighteen (18) months following the adoption of the ordinance.

    Phase 1
    3 months after adoption

    Phase 2
    9 months after adoption

    Phase 3
    18 months after adoption

    City Government

    • City departments
    • City-owned and leased facilities
    • Renters or lessees of City properties
    • City contractors & vendors while doing business with the City
    • City-sponsored events
    • City-permitted events

    Prepared Food Sales
    Large businesses

    “Food establishments” that sells food and/or beverage to-go or for on-site consumption.

    Restaurants (seating 101 or more) seats or franchised), food stands, grocery stores (prepared food only), delis, food trucks, coffee shops, schools (LBUSD) etc.

    Prepared Food Sales
    Small businesses

    “Small” based on seating 100 or less (per Health Dept. licensing categorization for restaurants & bars)

    Ban retail sales of polystyrene ice chests, polystyrene bean bags, and crafts; include that utensils and straws are given upon request for take away items.

  • Where else are there similar bans?

    California Statewide: There are 101 CA jurisdictions as of May 2017

    Nationally: About 43 jurisdictions including - AK, MN, FL, MD, MA, NY, SC, OR, WA and TX.

    In total, about 144 U.S. jurisdictions limit single-use polystyrene foodware, citing reasons such as litter prevention, public health & waste reduction. Many of these are adjacent to major waterways.

  • How do you comply with the ordinance?

    • No Food Provider shall distribute or sell any polystyrene food service ware in conjunction with the sale of prepared food or beverages at any location within the City of Long Beach.
    • No person shall distribute or sell prepared food or beverages in any polystyrene food service ware at City facilities that have been rented, leased or are otherwise being used with permission of the City
    • No person shall use or distribute polystyrene food service ware at City-sponsored events, activities and City meetings open to the public. This Subsection shall apply to the function organizers, agents of the organizers, City contractors, and Food Providers.
    • The City, its departments, its City contractors, agents, and employees acting in their official capacity, shall not purchase, acquire or distribute for public use any polystyrene food service ware or disposables that are neither Recyclable nor Compostable, or Polystyrene Coolers.
    • No person, vendor, business or event promoter may sell, rent or otherwise provide any polystyrene product which is not wholly encapsulated or encased within a more durable material, except as exempted herein. This specifically includes, but is not limited to, cups, plates, bowls, clamshells and other products primarily for food service use, as well as Polystyrene Coolers and ice chests. 
    • Straws and Utensils for take-away foods shall only be provided upon customer request, including at City facilities.
  • What types of containers are allowed under the ordinance?

    Acceptable and Recommended = Aluminum, Paper, Recyclable Plastic (#1, 2 ,5)

    Acceptable but NOT recommended = Compostable materials

    Prohibited = expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, rigid polystyrene #6, and non-recyclable and non-compostable plastics.

  • What are the non-compliance penalties?

    A violation of this ordinance shall be punishable under the administrative citation procedures set forth in Chapter 9.65 of the municipal code. The fine imposed for a particular violation shall be in the amount set forth in the administrative citation schedule established by resolution of the City Council.