After months of deliberation on how to combat pollution, the Long Beach City Council voted Tuesday to approve an ordinance banning the use of polystyrene in food packaging.
The ordinance, which targets single-use containers for both food and drinks, will be phased in across the city starting with larger restaurants and food establishments, which will be given nine months to adhere to the ban.
Smaller establishments, which are specified as “seating 100 people or fewer” in the ordinance packet, will have 18 months before they must comply. The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services department will conduct annual inspections on the establishments to confirm they are compliant with the ordinance.
However, prior to implementing the ban in smaller businesses, the council will meet again in August 2019 to review its impact on the bigger businesses before passing it down to the smaller ones.
Mike Murchison, a lobbyist representing local businesses, praised the council’s push for reviewing the impact the ban will have on the bigger establishments before implementing them down the line, according to the Long Beach Post.
Local environmentalists have praised the new ordinance. Captain Charles Moore of the marine research organization, Algalita, stated that now is the time for the governments to begin focusing on battling plastic pollution, which he says is “no longer a peripheral vision.”
The primary purposes of the ordinance are “to regulate the use of polystyrene food packaging in order to reduce and prevent the presence of this type of litter in the environment, protect public health, and promote environmentally sustainable practices,” according to the packet.
Although it will eliminate these containers from distribution, the packet states that the ordinance is not expected to reduce the consumption of food and drinks that come in these containers.