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Dedicated to Protecting the Environment
The City of Laguna Beach is dedicated to protecting its neighborhoods and the environment. As part of that mission, the City is committed to reducing plastic pollution that ends up on City streets, parks, and beaches. Path to Plastic-Free Laguna Beach offers visitors, residents, and businesses an unprecedented opportunity to play a pivotal role in reducing plastic pollution.
The Laguna Beach City Council has led the way through its new series of resident-serving programs and policies called the Neighborhood and Environmental Protection Plan ("NEPP"), to mitigate visitor impacts to neighborhoods, enhance City services for residents, and implement stronger environmental protection programs. The $1M NEPP will be funded 100% by visitors through the City’s Parking Fund and Measure LL Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues.
Updated Plastic Pollution Policy
As part of the City’s NEPP to reduce the affects of litter from visitors on City beaches, parks, and trails, the City Council unanimously adopted Ordinance No. 1660 in 2021, expanding the City's plastic pollution policy to significantly reduce the environmental impacts related to single-use plastics, and promote a major shift towards the use of reusable and recyclable food service ware.
Today, all retail businesses that sell, use, or distribute disposable food service ware within the City boundaries, are prohibited from selling, using, or distributing certain single-use, plastic, bioplastic, and polystyrene disposable food service ware items, including utensils and utensil sleeves, straws, stirrers, and takeout bags.
Retail businesses may only provide alternative plastic food service ware (spoons, forks, knives, straws & stirrers) to customers upon request.
Disposable, plastic food service ware is no longer permitted at all parks, beaches, and trails.
Working with Local Businesses
Working in concert with Laguna Beach stakeholders and the business community, the City is providing digital information to businesses and restaurants. It is the City's goal to have businesses make a commitment to significantly reduce the volume of plastic produced, ultimately reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean.
In support of the City's Path to Plastic-Free, the City is providing online information in the form of a digital business toolkit, to assist local food and beverage providers in identifying disposable food service ware that is eco-friendly. The City strongly encourages the use of reusable food service ware items, or the most sustainable alternative, as available.
The Digital Business Toolkit includes:
- List of plastic alternative products
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Reference Guide to disposable food service ware by item, material and status (compliant, permissible, and prohibited)
On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, the Laguna Beach City Council approved a new $1M series of resident-serving programs and policies called the "Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan," to mitigate visitor impacts to neighborhoods, enhance City services for residents, and add environmental protection programs. The programs will be funded 100% by visitors through the City’s Parking Fund and Measure LL Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues. Over six-million visitors come to Laguna Beach annually. Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has also encouraged Southern California residents to engage in more outdoor activities, which has resulted in a further increase in the number of visitors to the City’s beaches, parks, and recreational trails. As a result, many of the City’s residential neighborhoods are now significantly impacted by visitors parking on their streets, leaving trash behind, and engaging in nuisance behaviors and illegal activities, negatively impacting the quality of life of the City’s residents.
“This action by the Council will better protect our neighborhoods and preserve the natural beauty of our beaches and open space areas,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen. “Through numerous neighborhood outreach meetings with our residents and neighbors over the last year, we’ve heard that more police protection, parking enforcement and trash pickup are needed to maintain the quality of life that we all expect. By committing $1 million to this effort, we are confident that we will produce positive and tangible results for our community.”
“The ongoing effects of Covid have impacted our trails and beaches as people search for outdoor activities and anything they can do safely,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf, who proposed the program during the City Council’s 2021 retreat. "Over the last few months, we have addressed specific neighborhood concerns tactically by putting out more trash cans and doing more enforcement, but this plan includes more immediate and long-term actions that will continue through the summer months as well. This program is a result of successful collaboration between residents and City staff, funded 100-percent from visitor revenues,” Kempf said.