City of Los Angeles Launches Reusable Foodware Microgrant Program

Group of people serving food at a food bar

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The city of Los Angeles' Department of Public Works announced today available microgrants to restaurants and other food services to help them transition from disposable to reuseable foodware.

The Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment (LASAN), under the DPW, has $600,000 in approved funding to purchase reusable foodware such as plates, bowls, cups, utensils, trays, dispensers and linens for eligible food service establishments. For this initial pilot, LASAN will give priority to food establishments located in Clean Up Green Up communities in South L.A., Wilmington, Boyle Heights and Pacoima that are disproportionately impacted by the overconcentration of environmental hazards.

``Billions of unused plastic utensils are tossed away annually, clogging our landfills, polluting our streets and waterways, and adding to the global glut of non-recyclable plastics,'' Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian, who co-authored city's the ordinance requiring food service establishment to provide plastic utensils only upon request, said in a statement.

``This microgrant program from LASAN will help vulnerable businesses make the necessary transition while we wean ourselves from plastic waste.'' With a priority on Clean Up Green Up community businesses, LASAN aims to provide equitable access to funding for those businesses to reduce pollution and improve their operations. Restaurants and other businesses in different parts of the city are welcome to apply and may receive some assistance.  Applications will be accepted through April 2024 or until funds are exhausted. Microgrant applications will reviewed and approved on a rolling basis, according to LASAN.

Businesses can apply online at Restaurant owners or other food service related businesses can contact a program representative by phone at 833-612-0623 or by email at LASAN has partnered with APTIM, ReThink Disposable and The Bay Foundation to conduct outreach and assessments, purchase reusable products, provide technical assistance and training to food service establishments, and overall grant management.

``The city of Los Angeles and LASAN are truly investing in their businesses by providing an easy way for restaurants to untether from single-use disposable foodware,'' Grace Lee, interim national ReThink Disposable director, said in a statement. ``Subsidizing reusable means L.A. has taken substantial direct action to protect the independent restaurants that have put Los Angeles on the map as a global food capital -- and as a global community.''  The program launched in mid-April and field teams will visit 613 restaurants identified within priority communities. During these visits, assessors will inform businesses about the program, assess potential eligibility, collect data through a survey and provide assistance to apply for the program.

Once approved, the program team will assess the applicant's needs, determine the type and quantity of resusable foodware needed and also provide training and assistance to implement resueable items into their businesses.

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