Customers at Los Angeles restaurants will only get plastic utensils and napkins if they ask for them, under a new ordinance taking effect Monday that aims to reduce waste.
The rule requires all restaurants with more than 26 employees to remove all single-use plastic utensil dispensers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Businesses must also stop including plastic utensils and napkins with takeout orders or for dine-in meals unless a customer specifically asks for them.
Enforcement won’t begin until January.
Over 32,000 mailers were sent out earlier this year to update restaurants on the new rules. The letters were printed in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and English.
The City Council passed the ordinance last April.
The city of Malibu set the plastic-ban standard in 2008 when it phased out plastic shopping bags, then a decade later cracked down on single-use plastics. The cities of Davis and San Luis Obispo have similar laws.
In Santa Monica, single-use plastic is banned in most instances.
The local rules require food establishments to distribute food and beverages with marine degradable food service ware. Permitted materials include: paper, fiber, wood, wheat straw/straw, bagasse, or edible material. The Santa Monica ordinance prohibits plastic, bio-plastic and aluminum. Disposable food service ware items include straws, utensils, stirrers, lid plugs, plates, trays, bowls, containers, cups and cup lids. Additionally, marine degradable straws and utensils may only be provided upon request.
There is an exemption for cups and cup lids due to the lack of market ready marine degradable cups and cup lids. The exemption allows product manufacturers, distributors, and businesses additional time to develop and procure compliant cups and cup lids.