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No more disposable plastic

New L.A. Ordinance bans the use and distribution of readily available, single-use plastic food-ware.

Plastic food-ware

Did you notice something missing at Illy Cafe or Seeds? Those plastic utensils aren’t out on the counter anymore... If you want them, you gotta ask for them, and that’s part of a new L.A. City plan. Lajja Mistry has more.

Your next take-out bag may not contain spoons, forks, or your favorite condiment containers.

According to a law that went into effect this week, food and beverage facilities in Los Angeles, with more than 26 employees, are restricted from giving out disposable items such as plastic straws, forks, lids to their customers.

The law bans readily available disposables, but customers can still request and get the plastic.

USC undergrad student, Alexandria Gee, thinks this is a good idea but does not think that banning disposables will solve the problem of plastic pollution.

Alexandria Gee: I don’t think you’ll make a - I think they’ll make us more eco-friendly, but I also think it’s just another way for USC to make themselves look better without actually trying to solve the problem.

Others agree that even a small step is a step in the right direction. Lemont Stiff works at Dulce in the USC Village.

Lemont Stiff : I think it’s a good idea. I don’t know how helpful it is. I don’t think it really stops so many people from like using straws and forks. But it’s a little bit of a deterrent, which makes it a little better for our environment. So I’m with it. I’m with it.

If enough people are with it, it might make a difference, says Yovani Teccuautzin sitting on a sofa outside in the village.

Yovani Teccuautzin: I think so. I think it would be effective. I mean, not everyone’s going to do it, but as long as some people start doing it, it’s a small change. So eventually it might catch on.

Sustainability expert and professor at USC, Robin Craig sheds light on the effectiveness of the new law.

Robin Craig: The way you set up your law is, we’re not automatically going to give you plastic utensils, plastic bags unless you ask for it every bit. Everything in behavioral psychology says that’s the way to set up a law to actually reduce the use because people have to positively do something to get the plastic that normally isn’t just handed out.

Will it solve the entire plastics problem? Obviously not. But will it start to make a dent? I think, yeah, I think it might.

Computer Science and Business Administration major Hanna Kishawi wonders if people will comply with the new law. She saw a similar issue in an earlier ban just on plastic straws.

Hanna Kishawi: I think it will make a dent in the plastic use for single-use plastic if it’s followed, but I also think it will be really difficult to follow.

All Food and beverage facilities are expected to follow the law by April 2022.

Assistant Vice President of the USC Auxiliary Services, Dirk De Jong said, “USC Hospitality is aware of the ordinance and has made changes to its operations to ensure compliance.”

For Annenberg Media, I am Lajja Mistry.