In the ongoing battle against single-use plastics, Irvine is poised to become the latest city to ban them.
The city council is set to vote on a proposed ordinance that would ban single-use plastics, including water bottles, bags, straws, and even mylar balloons. This move echoes the actions of dozens of other Californian cities and counties, and aligns with a state law that mandates a significant reduction in non-compostable, single-use items in the coming years.
The proposed ordinance would specifically target expanded polystyrene and plastic containers used in food service and retail, covering non-reusable bags, take-out containers, and utensils. It would also put a stop to the sale of mylar and latex balloons. However, businesses could potentially secure waivers if they can demonstrate that no equivalent product exists to replace the banned item.
The push to ban single-use plastics has been gaining momentum in the U.S. for years, fueled by mounting evidence of their detrimental effects on ecosystems, air quality, and human health. According to the United Nations Environment Program, humans churn out over 430 million tons of plastic annually, with two-thirds of this amount being single-use products that end up in landfills and oceans, and often infiltrate the human food chain.
The California Ocean Protection Council warns that plastic never truly breaks down into its chemical components, but instead fragments into smaller and smaller pieces. These microplastics have been found in everything from marine organisms to drinking water and food, including shellfish, salt, beer, and honey.
Over 170 Californian cities and counties have already implemented single-use plastic bans. Senate Bill 54, signed into law in June 2022, stipulates that at least 65% of plastics in California must be recycled by 2032. On top of that, single-use plastic grocery bags will be banned statewide as of January 1, 2025.
Read more at KTLA News.