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PROPOSED ORDINANCE REGULATING THE USE OF SINGLE-USE PLASTIC AND STYROFOAM PRODUCTS IN THE CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS
PURPOSE OF THE PROPOSED ORDINANCE

Plastic pollution, including single-use plastics and polystyrene, has raised environmental and health concerns related to water pollution, the welfare of marine life, and human health. In fact, every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic go into the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife and ecosystems. Plastic bags and disposable single use plastic items are a large part of that pollution.

Production and disposal of single-use plastics emit greenhouse gasses, a major contributor to climate change.

In addition to negative environmental impacts, the removal and disposal of single-use plastics waste is costly for businesses and the City.

This ban will not only reduce plastic waste and pollution but will also reduce costs for businesses and for the City by not having to remediate all the single-use plastics waste that is produced.

 
GENERAL PROVISIONS OF THE ORDINANCE: WHAT DOES THIS ORDINANCE INCLUDE?

The proposed ordinance will prohibit the use, sale and distribution of single-use/disposable plastic and styrofoam goods in Beverly Hills. The proposed regulation will affect all food service establishments (grocery stores, supermarkets, drive-throughs, cafes, coffee shops, snack shops, public food markets, farmers markets, convenience stores or similar places where food and beverages are available for sale or take-away), as well as all retail stores, pharmacies, hotels, and gas service stations.

The items proposed to be regulated include Styrofoam coolers, packing materials, egg cartons, produce trays, meat and fish trays, foam peanuts, packing peanuts, foam popcorn, packing noodles, plastic bags and plastic and non-compostable straws, utensils, food containers, and stirrers. The use, sale and distribution of Mylar balloons will also be prohibited.

 

STAKEHOLDERS: WHO WILL BE IMPACTED? 
  • Food service establishments (any retail establishment that sells prepared food for consumption, including from a restaurant, temporary facility, cart, vehicle, or mobile unit)
  • City operations, sponsored events and permitted events
  • Pharmacies
  • Grocery stores
  • Gas Service Stations
  • Hotels (Hospitality)
  • Retail stores and other retail services

 

PROPOSED EFFECTIVE DATE

If approved by the City Council, there will be two phases of implementation for this ordinance:

Phase 1: The local government of Beverly Hills will have 6 months after the approval of the ordinance to comply.

Phase 2: Retail stores, hotels, food service establishments and pharmacies in Beverly Hills will have 1 year after the approval of the ordinance to comply.

 

Exemptions and enforcement 

Qualifying for exemptions:

If this ordinance presents undue hardship to you or your business, you may be approved for an extension or exemption. Undue hardship may include but not be limited to:

  1. There are no reasonable alternatives
  2. Compliance with the requirements of this chapter would deprive a person of a legally protected right. The extension or exemption may be extended for additional terms of up to one year each, upon a showing of the continuation of the legal right.

Applying for exemptions:

To obtain an extension or exemption for a Disposable Foodware or Disposable Foodware Accessories item, the food service establishment must demonstrate that:

  1. No Disposable Foodware items, Accessories, or other Disposable items included in this ordinance exist with substantially similar size, performance and/or utility that conforms with the Disposable Foodware Standards in Section 5-12-106 or, if such an item exists, that costs of using such item would cause undue financial hardship, and;
  2. The non-conforming Disposable Foodware or Disposable Foodware Accessories item to be used in lieu of a conforming item is recyclable or compostable in the City of Beverly Hills recyclable or compostable collection program.
  3. Reasonable added cost for a conforming item as compared to a substantially similar recyclable non-conforming item shall not by itself constitute adequate grounds to support an extension or exemption for such item.
  4. Food Providers and Beverage Providers must provide documentation of good faith efforts to obtain a substantially similar compliant item at a non-prohibitive price. Records of attempts to obtain a compliant item may include:
    1. Emails, letters or other correspondence with vendors that furnish Disposable Foodware or Disposable Foodware Accessories, seeking the compliant item.
    2. Responses from such Disposable Foodware or Disposable Foodware Accessories vendors including, where applicable, specifications and pricing for such item. Specifications and pricing for the recyclable non-conforming item sought to be used, demonstrating its substantial superiority and/or affordability, and
    3. Any other verifiable records which demonstrate a good faith effort to comply with Disposable Foodware Standards for such item.

If you or your business cannot comply with this ordinance, please present a written request for an extension or exemption to the City Manager's office, including any necessary documentation or information. The exemption is for 1 calendar year, with a maximum of 2 exemptions. Nonprofit organizations are not automatically exempt.

Please note:

The proposed ordinance does not apply to the following (exemptions are not necessary):

  • Food or other items packaged outside the City
  • Food or other items brought by individuals for consumption to City parks

 

Enforcement:

  • Notice of Violation (NOV) for initial violation. Intent of the NOV is to educate stakeholders.
  • Additional violations, subject to Administrative Citation set forth in BHMC
    • $100 for first violation after the written warning notice is given
    • $200 for the second violation after the written warning notice is given
    • Fine not exceeding $500 for third and subsequent violations after a written warning notice has been given

 

Check out the fact sheet for the proposed ordinance: Fact Sheet: Single-Use Plastics and Styrofoam Ordinance

 

Sources

  1. United Nations Environmental Programme, "Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations".
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