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Diners now have to ask for plastic utensils in Los Angeles

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Posted at 2:41 PM, Nov 16, 2021

LOS ANGELES — LOS ANGELES (AP) — Customers at Los Angeles restaurants will only get plastic utensils and napkins if they ask for them, under a new ordinance taking effect Monday that aims to reduce waste.

The rule requires all restaurants with more than 26 employees to remove all single-use plastic utensil dispensers.

Businesses must also stop including plastic utensils and napkins with takeout orders or for dine-in meals unless a customer specifically asks for them.

The L.A. Times and KCBS report that the ordinance will first apply to food and beverage facilities with more than 26 employees, and it will expand to all facilities in April.

Enforcement won’t begin until January. At that time, KCBS reports that facilities that violate the ordinance will be subject to a written notice for a first and second violation, but after that, they’ll be fined $25 for each violation. A facility’s collective fine won’t exceed $300 per year though.

City officials say the goal of the ordinance is to reduce the use of plastic and cut down costs for businesses.

L.A. isn’t the first major U.S. city to put a ban like this in place. Seattle was the first to do so in 2018 and Honolulu passed a similar measure earlier this year.