State Bill Would Ban Disposable Cups for Dine-In Customers

State Bill Would Ban Disposable Cups for Dine-In Customers

Various sizes of soft drink cups sit on a beverage dispenser in a fast food restaurant in New York on Sept. 29, 2015. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

2/19/2024

Updated: 2/19/2024

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A California legislator is proposing to ban restaurants from giving disposable cups to dine-in customers as a way to reduce waste.
“California has a massive plastic waste problem, and if we are serious about protecting our environment and living sustainably, we must reduce it across the board,” said bill author Sen. Catherine Blakespear in a news release Feb. 14. “[It] is a simple, sensible step to reduce waste coming from restaurants.”
SB 1167 would complement other similar ordinances passed by cities that limit the use of plastic food ware, according to her office. The Los Angeles City Council banned single-use plastic utensils and napkins at restaurants in 2021.
Such disposable tableware produced more than 500,000 tons of waste in 2021, according to CalRecycle, which oversees the state’s waste management and recycling efforts.
The legislation is supported by the 5 Gyres Institute, a Los Angeles-based plastic pollution research organization; the nonprofit advocacy group Californians Against Waste; and environmental nonprofits Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation.
“Reuse is the foremost solution to preventing single-use waste at its source,” said Alison Waliszewski, director of policy and programs at The 5 Gyres Institute, in the Feb. 14 press release. “Replacing these cups with nontoxic, reusable cups for customers dining in will reduce plastic pollution, cut costs for businesses, and shift consumer behavior towards reuse.”
Nick Lapis, the advocacy director for Californians Against Waste, said using disposable cups when drinking coffee at a café was wasteful.
“Things we use for minutes shouldn’t pollute the earth for centuries,” Mr. Lapis said in the press release.
A request for comment to the California Restaurant Association was not immediately returned.
Ms. Blakespear also introduced Senate Bill (SB) 1053 this legislative session, which would ban the use of film plastic bags sold at grocery stores and other stores that sell food.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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