Expanded Polystyrene Ordinance

EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE (EPS) BAN


On December 6, 2022, the Los Angeles City Council adopted Ordinance No. 187717, banning the sale or distribution of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) products, commonly known as the trade name Styrofoam(™), in the City of Los Angeles.

The ordinance prohibits businesses and retail establishments from distributing, offering, providing, renting, or selling to any person any EPS product, any food or beverage in any EPS product, or any shipping or packing material that contains EPS.

Compliance Deadline
  • Starting on April 23, 2023, large food or beverage facilities and retail establishments (with more than 26 employees) cannot sell or distribute prohibited EPS products;
  • Starting on April 23, 2024, all other food or beverage facilities and retail establishments cannot sell or distribute prohibited EPS products.
If a Food or Beverage Facility or Retail Establishment is part of a larger state or national vendor, the employee count includes all employees of that chain.

Prohibited EPS products include the following*:
  • EPS products intended primarily for food service use including but not limited to, cups, plates, bowls, trays, and clamshells;
  • EPS egg cartons;
  • EPS coolers and ice chests that are not encased in a more durable material;
  • EPS shipping materials including shipping boxes, loose fill packing materials (e.g., packing peanuts), molded packaging materials.

*Exemptions to the above banned items are as follows:
  • Products such as surfboards, coolers, or craft supplies that are wholly encapsulated or encased in a more durable material;
  • Craft supplies;
  • Packaging or containers that are used for drugs, medical devices, or biological materials;
  • EPS used in the manufacture of safety devices and equipment, including, but not limited to, vehicle child restraint systems, personal floatation devices such as life jackets and life preservers, helmets, and vehicle impact protection systems;
  • Construction and building materials or related products made from EPS if the products are used in compliance with the building regulations in Chapter IX of this Code, or any successor provisions, and are used in a manner preventing the EPS from being released into the environment;
  • Products that are pre-packaged outside of the City using EPS (as part of the packaging material except for Egg Cartons), as long as the products themselves are not made of EPS or unless a more durable material wholly encapsulates or encases the EPS;
  • Online sales of products that are shipped from a location outside of the City;
  • EPS packaging products that have been received from sources outside of the City for reuse, in order to keep these packaging products outside of the waste stream.

REASON FOR THE ORDINANCE


EPS is used extensively in food and beverage and packaging industries because the material is lightweight, a good thermal insulator, moisture-resistant, and has high shock absorbency.   However, EPS is not accepted in the blue bin for recycling, or the green bin for composting in the City, does not biodegrade, poses a risk to wildlife, can easily blow out of open garbage cans and trucks because it is so lightweight, creating visual blight, and can leach toxic chemicals into the environment when landfilled.

The City's objectives for the ordinance include the following:
  • Reduce the amount of EPS material in the City's solid waste;
  • Reduce the amount of EPS material that reaches local waterways and the Pacific Ocean;
  • Encourage the use of reusable packaging and containers.

ALTERNATIVES TO EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE


There are many alternatives to EPS products, such as:
  • Fiber/paperboard (cardboard), made from tree fiber;
  • Compostable plant fibers;
  • Polyethylene, high-density polyethylene or polypropylene plastic;
    • Please note only Plastic numbers 1, 2, and 5 are recyclable in the City.
  • Metals - including aluminum and tin;
  • Glass;
  • Durable/reusable products - durable plastics, metals (e.g., stainless steel), ceramic, wood, stoneware, and glass.
The City encourages the use of durable and reusable products where possible.


ENFORCEMENT


In accordance with the Administrative Citation Enforcement (ACE) Program guidelines, the administrative fines for an administrative violation of Ordinance No. 187717 are as follows:

  1. Two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) for a first violation;
  2. Five hundred dollars ($500) for a second violation of the same code provision, statute, ordinance, order, condition or requirement;
  3. One thousand dollars ($1,000) for a third or any subsequent violation of the same code provision, statute, ordinance, order, condition or requirement.

MORE INFORMATION


LASAN staff is also available to answer any questions and give presentations. Contact our Solid Resources Citywide Recycling Division (SRCRD) directly by calling 213-485-2260 or emailing SRCRD@lacity.org


INFORMATIONAL FLYERS


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