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 our streets 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 resident-serving program called the Neighborhood and Environmental Protection Plan, a new $2M program to mitigate visitor impacts to neighborhoods, enhance City services for residents, and add environmental protection programs. The $2M program will be funded 100% by visitors through the City’s Parking Fund and Measure LL Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues.
As part of the City’s Neighborhood and Environmental Protection Plan Ordinance to reduce the impacts of litter from visitors on our beaches, oceans, parks, and neighborhoods, the City Council unanimously updated the City’s plastic pollution policy prohibiting the sale, use, and distribution single-use, to-go plastic or polystyrene foodware items, including bioplastics. This ordinance applies to all businesses that sell or distribute that foodware within City boundaries.
Now, more than ever, people are seeking out and engaging in important environmental initiatives. By replacing single-use plastic products with high-quality reusable and compostable ones, Laguna Beach business owners can lead by example, educating and empowering their customers to make a real difference.
Working in concert with Laguna Beach stakeholders and our business community, we are providing digital information to our businesses and restaurants. It is our hope that many will make a commitment to significantly reduce the volume of plastic produced, ultimate reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in our ocean.
The City is providing online information and assistance to local food and beverage providers to help identify disposable food service ware that is marine degradable and help in locating suppliers of alternative products. The outreach program strongly encourages the use of the most sustainable packaging types from a resource use and marine debris perspective. Laguna Beach establishments have access to a digital toolkit to help find a path to being plastic-free.
On Tuesday, March 9, the Laguna Beach City Council approved a new $2M resident-serving program called the "Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan," to mitigate visitor impacts to neighborhoods, enhance City services for residents, and add environmental protection programs. The $2M program 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 $2 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.