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EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE ORDINANCE

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 What is the expanded polystyrene ordinance?

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

View the Ordinance

View Administrative Rules

  Why did the City adopt this ordinance?

The City adopted this ordinance to address 3 major issues:

  • Litter – Expanded Polystyrene easily becomes liter because it is lightweight and breaks up into microplastics during travel, making it hard to recover and clean up. Expanded Polystyrene will also not degrade in our lifetime.
  • Health - The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that styrene is a “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen.”
  • Waste Prevention - Food-soiled expanded polystyrene is not recyclable and is designed to only be used one time. The City wants to prevent waste and decrease the amount of single-use disposable material.

  When will the ordinance take effect?

The ordinance was signed on May 4, 2018 by the mayor and was adopted 30 days later, on June 3, 2018. It takes effect in three phases:

Phase 1

September 3, 2018

Phase 2

March 3, 2019

Phase 3

December 3, 2019

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
**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 with three hundred sixty-five (365) days of the operative of this ordinance.

Prepared Food Sales
Large businesses

Large food providers, defined as those providing or selling prepared food to the general public for on-site or take-away consumption, include restaurants seating more than 101 persons. This tier includes: any franchise restaurant, grocery or convenience store, any food truck, and Long Beach Unified School District.

Prepared Food Sales
Small businesses

Small food providers, defined as those providing or selling prepared food to the general public for on-site or take-away consumption, include restaurants seating fewer than 100 persons. This tier also includes all other providers.

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?

There are 101 jurisdictions in California with similar ordinances as of May 2017.
Nationally about 144 U.S. jurisdictions limit single-use polystyrene food ware, citing reasons such as litter prevention, public health & waste reduction. Many of these are adjacent to major waterways.