|Ordinance Basics||Compliance||Exemptions||Business Resources|
|Purpose||Single-use Articles||Exempted Scenarios||Compliant Product Suppliers|
|Key Provisions||Permitted Materials||Waiver Application||Additional Information|
|Impacted Businesses||Prohibited Materials||Early Adopter program|
|Commission Meetings||Special Cases||Frequently Asked Questions|
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE ORDINANCE?
Single-use plastic foodware and expanded polystyrene (foam) comprise a significant proportion of the City's waste production, dominating our landfills. Such articles also pollute critical waterways and damage local ecosystems. Both conventional plastics and expanded polystyrene are by-products of processing oil - a significant producer of greenhouse gas emissions - and break down into hazardous microplastics that accumulate in perpetuity.
The proposed ordinance intends to curtail the environmental and human health problems associated with producing and disposing of single-use plastic and expanded polystyrene items.
Access the City's draft ordinance here
View our fact sheet for an ordinance overview
WHAT ARE THE KEY PROVISIONS?
- Food facilities cannot sell or distribute single-use articles for food service, including cutlery, straws, and foodware containers, that are neither compostable nor recyclable.
- Retail establishments cannot sell, rent, or offer expanded polystyrene products to customers.
- Third-party online food ordering businesses must allow food facilities to indicate which single-use foodware accessories they offer and allow customers to select which accessories, if any, will be included with their order.
- Full-service restaurants may only provide multiservice utensils for dine-in customers for consumption on the premises.
WHO IS IMPACTED?
- any operation that provides food for human consumption at the retail level
12 months to comply
18 months to comply
24 months to comply
Mobile food facilities
Third-party online food ordering business - a service that operates an online platform for customers to order ready-to-eat food that is prepared or sold by food facilities
Full-service restaurant - a food facility where food may be consumed on the premises, meaning a customer is directed to an assigned seating area and, except for items included in a buffet or salad bar, food and beverage orders are delivered directly to the customers
Retail establishment - any commercial establishment located within the City that sells goods directly to customers primarily for their own consumption or use
All relevant Public Works Commission meeting agendas and recordings are available below:
WHAT IS A SINGLE-USE ARTICLE?
A single-use article is any disposable foodware item used to serve, consume, transport, or contain food and beverages. This term includes plates, bowls, clamshells, pizza boxes, cups, trays, egg cartons, and wrappers. It also includes single-use foodware accessories provided alongside ready-to-eat food, such as forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, straws, stirrers, spill plugs, hot beverage sleeves, cup lids, napkins, and condiment containers.
In contrast, multiservice utensils are foodware designed to be cleaned and reused and are only required for full-service restaurants.
WHAT MATERIALS DOES THE ORDINANCE ALLOW?
The ordinance will only permit compostable and recyclable single-use articles, as accepted by the City's waste hauler, and prohibits the sale of all expanded polystyrene products.
A Compostable item will promptly and safely break down into non-toxic organic matter (compost), and conforms to the following requirements:
|Example compostable items|
Recyclable items can be diverted from landfills and then feasibly salvaged, processed, and returned to use by society, with the following criteria:
- Plastic and expanded polystyrene single-use articles are not considered recyclable.
- Aluminum, glass, unsoiled paper, and beverage containers with a CRV value are recyclable.
Download and view our list of Compliant Single-Use Articles to help transition your foodware.
This list is only intended to provide initial guidance and is not representative of all compliant products. The Department of Public Works will continue to update the list.
Prices and links are subject to change. See the last column for the date each product was updated.
WHAT MATERIALS DOES THE ORDINANCE PROHIBIT?
Prohibited items are non-compostable and non-recyclable. These include:
Example prohibited items
WHAT IF I STILL CAN'T FIND COMPLIANT PRODUCTS FOR MY BUSINESS?
The Director of Public Works may authorize the use of specific categories or types of non-compostable and non-recyclable single-use articles. This authorization applies to special cases where no compliant articles can feasibly fulfill a business use, meaning they are not readily available or cannot be used effectively for a specific food service application. If you cannot find a compliant product for a specific business application, please download the following PDF form and send your completed application to email@example.com:
Applications will be available here soon
WHAT SCENARIOS ARE EXEMPTED?
The prohibition of non-compostable and non-recyclable single-use articles does not apply to single-use articles that are:
- Included with ready-to-eat food that is pre-packaged at a location outside of the premises of the food facility
- Provided in response to an emergency that is declared or ratified by the City, County, State, or federal government
- Provided by health facilities with ready-to-eat food during the course of treatment
The ordinance also does not cover beverage containers subject to the California Redemption Value (CRV), expanded polystyrene-based products encased in a more durable material, or products pre-packaged outside the City using expanded polystyrene as part of the packaging material.
CAN I APPLY FOR A WAIVER OR EXTENSION?
If complying with the ordinance will constitute an undue hardship for your business, you may apply to the Director of Public Works to waive the requirements for up to one year while you work to achieve compliance. Instances of undue hardship include a lack of dishwashing capacity for dine-in reusables, extraordinary financial strain, or purchases of non-compliant products before receiving notice of the ordinance. Please download the following PDF form and send your completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Applications will be available here soon
Compliant Product Suppliers
In addition to viewing our list of compliant products, you can visit the following sources to find additional items.
The following suppliers are provided for your convenience. Their inclusion does not imply that they, or the single-use articles they sell, are endorsed by the City.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & assistance
The following sites provide guidance and educational materials for plastic-free businesses:
You may also visit www.plasticfreerestaurants.org/subsidy to apply for a subsidy before the ordinance goes into full effect.
Additionally, the City is offering an Early Adopter Program to encourage compliance with the ordinance before it goes into full effect by offering a one-month supply of compliant single-use articles to qualifying small businesses. Click below to visit the Program's website and access the application.