Frequently Asked Questions
How does my food facility comply with the Ordinance?
- Cease providing single use plastic straws and stirrers from self-serve dispensers/stations.
- Cease automatically providing customers single use food service accessories such as utensils, straws, and condiments.
- Indicate which single use food service accessories are available through online food-ordering platforms.
- If the food facility is a full-service restaurant, only use multiservice utensils for dine-in customers.
- If providing single use food service articles such as accessories and food/beverage containers, use recyclable or compostable single use food service articles.
Are biodegradable single use food service articles allowed?
Single use food service articles must only be compostable or recyclable. Compostable articles must conform to the following requirements:
- Must be free of all fluorinated chemicals, including, but not limited to, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (e.g., PFAS)
- Must be "home compostable" by a certifying organization acceptable to Public Works. "Home compostable" means that the material will biodegrade at moderate temperatures in a composting bin designed for home use.
- If it is not home compostable, then it must be certified by its manufacturer to be composed solely of fiber-based material, such as paper or wood, without any coatings or additives that are not made entirely from fiber-based material.
- If it is not home compostable or fiber-based, then it must be certified compostable by both the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and the Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA).
What recyclable single use food service articles are allowed?
“Recyclable” means capable of being source-separated or otherwise removed from the waste stream when discarded, and then feasibly recycled, salvaged, processed, or marketed by any means other than landfilling or burning, and returned to use by society, irrespective of whether it is compostable. Recyclable articles conform to the following requirements:
Recycling, salvage, or processing facilities must be readily available to receive, recycle, salvage and/or process the materials.
- Facilities must have the technical and operational ability
- Facilities must have adequate capacity
- Facilities must clearly indicate a currently available market for such recycled, salvaged, or processed material.
In no event shall single use articles made with plastic be considered recyclable.
Are there any exemptions?
- Supplies and services provided in response to a declared emergency
- Single use articles that health facilities provide to patients with ready-to-eat food during the course of treatment
- Food facilities located in a city with a conflicting or stricter ordinance (city ordinance shall be followed)
Can compostable single use items be used in self-serve dispensers or stations?
Yes, both compostable and recyclable single use accessories may be provided using self-dispensers or stations, with the exception of single use plastic straws and single use plastic stirrers. Single use foodware accessories, however, shall not be bundled or packaged in a manner that prohibits a customer from taking only the type of single use foodware accessory, if any, that may be desired without also having to take a different type of single use foodware accessory.
Who is responsible for enforcement of the ordinance?
Los Angeles County Public Works has primary responsibility for enforcement. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health may assist with this enforcement responsibility by entering the premises of a food facility as part of their regular inspection function, so as to monitor compliance by reporting any alleged violations.
Will Public Health provide violation notices to businesses?
Los Angeles County Public Works will conduct enforcement activities, which includes providing violation notices after reviewing reports by Public Health and the general public.
Will we have more onsite inspections by multiple agencies?
For issuing violation notices, no further onsite inspections will be conducted in addition to Public Health inspection visits with complete reported information. Public Works or their consultants may conduct onsite visits to provide education and technical assistance to businesses.
What is required as far as record keeping?
Records of purchases to show compliance, in either written or electronic form, retained for a period of three (3) years. They shall be made available for inspection at the request of Public Works or Public Health.
What are the penalties and fines for Ordinance violations?
- Written warning notice
- Food facility fine is one hundred dollars ($100) for each day of violation, up to a maximum fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000)
- Third-party online food-ordering business fine is one hundred dollars ($100) for the first day of violation and up to two hundred dollars ($200) for each additional day of violation
- Any person that violates any provision of this Chapter may be subject to a civil action, including, but not limited to, an injunction, and shall be liable for a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day of violation
What happens to the money collected from violation fines?
Fines collected pursuant to this Chapter shall be deposited in the Solid Waste Management Fund of the Los Angeles County Public Works to assist the Department with its costs of implementing and enforcing the requirements of the ordinance.
Can written warnings and fines be disputed or appealed?
A business operator who receives a written warning notice or fine may request an administrative review of the accuracy of the determination or the propriety of any fine issued, by filing a written notice of appeal with the Director of Public Works no later than 30 days after receipt of a written warning notice or fine, as applicable.
The notice of appeal must include all facts supporting the appeal and any statements and evidence, including copies of all written documentation and a list of any witnesses that the appellant wishes to be considered in connection with the appeal.
The appeal will be heard by a hearing officer designated by the Director of Public Works. The hearing officer will conduct a hearing concerning the appeal within 45 days from the date that the notice of appeal is filed, or on a later date if agreed upon by the appellant and the County, and will give the appellant 10 days prior written notice of the date of the hearing.
The hearing officer may sustain, rescind, or modify the written warning notice or fine, as applicable, by written decision. The hearing officer will have the power to waive any portion of the fine in a manner consistent with the decision. The decision of the hearing officer is final and effective on the date of service of the written decision, is not subject to further administrative review, and constitutes the final administrative decision.
Can customers use their own reusable/washable food & beverage containers and utensils for takeout orders?
Yes. State law (AB619, 2019) explicitly allows reusable food containers to be refilled by either the owner/operator of a food facility or the consumer. Customers may supply their own reusable containers. If a takeback system is setup, food facilities may accept returned reusable food containers from customers for reuse.
Single Use Foodware Compliance
- Free of all intentionally added fluorinated chemicals, including, but not limited to, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) - Provide test results from independent accredited laboratories, preferably with ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation.
- Meets one of the following:
- OK Compost HOME certified
- Fiber-based - Must provide a statement on company letterhead self certifying that the product is composed solely of fiber-based material, such as paper or wood, without any coatings or additives that are not made entirely from fiber-based material.
- BPI and CMA certified (see links below)
- Testing Resources
- Must not be plastic
- Must be capable of being source-separated or otherwise removed from the waste stream when discarded, and then feasibly recycled, salvaged, processed, or marketed by any means other than landfilling or burning, and returned to use by society.
- Recycling, salvage, or processing facilities must be readily available to process waste products. Facilities must have the following characteristics:
- Technical and Operational ability and Adequate capacity to: receive, recycle, salvage and/or process the material from which such single use article is composed
- There must be a market for such recycled, salvaged, or processed material.
The intent of these listings is to make it easier for food facilities to find single use foodware in compliance with the Ordinance. We are only accepting lab results for PFAS testing from independent accredited laboratories.
The companies listed and the information presented are subject to change without notice. The companies listed are not endorsed or recommended by the County of Los Angeles, nor is the list necessarily inclusive of all foodware vendors. If you are a foodware vendor who would like to be added to this database or to provide information to update the existing lists, send an email to: SUPOrdinance@pw.lacounty.gov.
- County Map [PDF, 508KB]
- County Smart Business Recycling Program
- LA County Department of Economic Opportunity
- Dishwashing Services List
- County Carryout Bag Ordinance