What Does the Ordinance Mean for My Business

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What food service items are banned?

This ordinance specifically refers to expanded polystyrene (one example of which is known as Styrofoam®) and clear or rigid polystyrene, both of which are marked with the symbol #6 on the bottom of the food service container or on material packaging.

The polystyrene ordinance applies to single-use disposable containers intended for serving or transporting prepared, ready-to-eat food or beverages. Examples include cups, plates, trays, bowls, and hinged or lidded containers. This ordinance was amended on April 1, 2014 and now applies to other single-use disposable food service items such as straws, cup lids and utensils. Further, the ordinance also prohibits the sale of these polystyrene materials in local retail stores, as well as the sale of polystyrene foam ice chests.

The amendments to the polystyrene ordinance become effective on May 2, 2014, but the City did not enforce the ordinance until October 1, 2014 to give businesses enough time to find alternative products that comply with the ordinance.  

Who must comply with this ordinance?

This ordinance prohibits all food providers in the City of Manhattan Beach from dispensing prepared food in non-recyclable plastic food service containers made from polystyrene #6 materials. “Food provider” means any establishment, located or providing food within the City of Manhattan Beach, which provides prepared food for public consumption on or off its premises and includes without limitation any store, shop, sales outlet, restaurant, delicatessen, grocery store, super market, catering truck or vehicle, or any other person who provides prepared food, and any organization, group, or individual that regularly provides food as a part of its service. The ordinance also covers food containers purchased by city staff; food programs sponsored by the city, city-sponsored events, city-managed concessions and city-permitted events.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Any person convicted of a violation of this ordinance is guilty of an infraction of the City's municipal code, and is subject to fines. Written warnings may be issued at first, followed by the fine structure below:

What types of containers are allowed under the ordinance?

 Please refer to the Compostable Products Catalog for information on where to find allowable containers.

  • Aluminum
  • Recyclable Plastics
  • Coated and Uncoated Paper
    Note: It is recommended that coated and uncoated papers contain a minimum of 90% paper, ideally made with post-consumer recycled content. Typically, these products will be labeled “post-consumer recycled content”.
  • Compostable plant fiber products, such as Bagasse, are now made from corn, sugar cane, bamboo, palm, grass and other rapidly compostable resources.
  • Bio-plastic
    Note: It is recommended that bio‐plastic containers be clearly labeled with the "COMPOSTABLE" green marking and have a certification agency logo. This criteria aids in the process of recycling the containers properly. Third party certification and State law requires that these products successfully meet applicable standards for compostability.

    If using a composting collection service provider, bio-plastic to-go food containers must be certified as commercially compostable and meet ASTM D6400, ISO 17088 or DIN EN 13432 [1] standards by a third party verification agency such as:
    ◦Biodegradable Products Institute (North America);
    ◦AIB Vincotte Inter (Belgium);
    ◦DIN Certco (European Union);
    ◦Australian Environmental Labeling Association (Australia ) [2];
    ◦Japan Bioplastics Association (Japan).

    The logo of the verification agency, to confirm the compostable certification, must be printed on the product, labeled with the word “COMPOSTABLE” and green marking.

    Proper product labeling including the certification agency logo and the word “COMPOSTABLE” lets business owners, their employees, residents, the composting collectors and processors know that products with this label have been third party tested to ensure that they will compost quickly, completely, and safely and to easily distinguish them from other plastic food and beverage containers. This requirement meets the needs for composting and marketing of composting material. It helps to produce a high quality, nutrient-rich compost that helps sustain agriculture and landscaping. The goal is to keep these products separate from plastics made out of petroleum.