On January 12, 2021, GEC’s Steering Committee submitted a comment letter in support of a Item 8a: Motion providing direction to staff to prepare an ordinance prohibiting the use of polystyrene and single-use plastic products in all City facilities, City-managed concessions, City-sponsored events, and City-permitted events that serve prepared food.
Update: This motion was approved unanimously and an ordinance will be drafted for a future vote. We were pleased that GEC’s letter was found useful and was quoted at Council at length.
GEC Steering’s COMMENT LETTER in Support:
To the Mayor of Glendale, Glendale City Council members, and city staff,
The Glendale Environmental Coalition strongly supports an ordinance prohibiting polystyrene and single-use plastic products in city facilities and at city-permitted events, as proposed by staff. Below, GEC suggests some provisions that would make the policy even stronger.
We support Alternative 2, which looks to the future, extending the experience and lessons of a ban within city facilities to a city-wide ban when it is practical. We hope the City of Glendale will move forward with that city-wide ban quickly once conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic allow. We also applaud the staff recommendation and commitment to a robust outreach program when such a city-wide ban is proposed.
Many cities have already undertaken or are studying city-facility and/or city-wide bans. The report mentions several, showing the overwhelming momentum and research that support this proposed ordinance.
GEC recommends the following additional provisions:
Marine degradable food ware is a strong step forward, but the city should clearly commit to a future vision requiring reusable food service ware throughout its facilities, as a signal to all vendors and event organizers. Marine degradable food ware is a commendable choice, but only if the City has a contract with a composting facility that can accept and process the food ware and food waste. Without such a contract, this food ware will be disposed of as trash.
The City of Los Angeles has an exclusive contract with a party service company for events held in its City Hall. Glendale could do something similar by contracting with one or more party service vendors that can supply reusable food service ware for all events held in city facilities and for as many city-permitted events as feasible.
The city should publish a list of acceptable or approved products, and we recommend that products without added PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) be listed separately in a “preferred purchasing list” noting specifically that these products do not contain added PFAS. In fact, Berkeley (in 2019) passed an ordinance designating that: “All disposable food ware and accessory disposable food ware items must be certified compostable and be free of intentionally added fluorinated chemicals.”
The city should clarify its position on eating utensils and beverage lids. For eating utensils, the city should ensure they are provided on request only. There are compostable utensils, but reusable utensils are a better option whenever possible. An emphasis on finger foods that do not require utensils will also help alleviate this issue. Vendors could offer tortillas or other items [chips, grape leaves etc} in lieu of utensils. The LA Zoo tightly restricts food service ware because of potential harm to animals if littered. If Zoo food vendors can adapt, all food vendors can. As to beverage lids, these should be discouraged as much as possible as they are single-use items, and not recyclable or compostable.
The ordinance should assign oversight and enforcement needs to be assigned to a city department, addressing the following: What mechanisms does the city have to encourage compliance? What consequences will there be for noncompliance? Event agreements should include terms to ensure enforceability of the ordinance’s provisions.
All staff should be instructed to ban/block the purchase of single-use or polystyrene products via office and other supply catalog companies with which the City has purchase contracts.
As soon as practical, city staff should be strongly encouraged not to bring their own purchased food in banned takeout containers to city facilities.
We are very pleased with this step the city is taking, and we thank City Council and staff for proposing this ordinance.
Glendale Environmental Coalition
WANT TO SUPPORT THIS ITEM? Item recap and links to reports and ways to comment at tonight’s council meeting (6 pm – January 12, 2020) on our weblink,
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