The small, family-owned restaurants of Long Beach, California have been happily serving their customers for years. They work seven days a week with countless hours to make their businesses successful and achieve the American Dream. Their efforts are seen in all aspects of their restaurant from creating take-out options, delivery, and bussing tables; while also raising families. They work tirelessly in order to turn their dreams into a reality.
However, government officials are hampering these small, family owned businesses by introducing new proposals.
The Long Beach City Council wants to ban containers made of polystyrene, also known as foam, in the hopes of protecting the environment. The head of the Environmental Committee, Daryl Supernaw, held a hearing at the Long Beach City Hall to hear from the community before the final drafting of this ordinance.
This ordinance would force restaurants to stop using foam take-out containers or cups. The cost of using alternatives creates a significant upsurge for these families. Advocates for the ban do not understand the ins and outs of the restaurant business. Cost is vitally important and these businesses serve as a family’s lifeline.
The California Restaurant Association presented a study showing that the cost “to change from foam clamshell food containers to the next least expensive option is 84 percent higher in cost, and to change to compostable containers,” raises the price to a 145 percent increase. This is outrageous and forces one to question how this could ever be economical or environmental?
This ban largely favors big corporations and wealthier companies, so where does that leave these small, family owned businesses? These advocates don’t seem to be taking these families into account and forcing them to pay for compostable containers is not doable for some of these restaurant families.
This new ban will not encourage people to recycle more, it just forces restaurants to pay more. Foam is not the problem; it is the behavior of those that choose not to recycle. Recycling education should be the direction in which these advocates are going. This will ensure a healthier environment and will not penalize the restaurant industry.
Curbside recycling is available in more than 65 cities with more drop-off locations throughout California. Therefore, recycling options are accessible.
This proposed ban might sound promising to advocates but there is no evidence to support that this new mandate will fix the problem of waste or litter. We should instead, focus our attention on ways to encourage recycling and teach others the dangers of littering, rather than punish the hardworking families of the restaurant business.