Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance Takes Effect

Starting January 1, restaurants in Santa Monica will be barred from using non-disposal foodware containers. Photo: City of Santa Monica.

Adjustments for Cups and Cup Lids Announced

By Staff Writer

The City of Santa Monica’s updated Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance will go into effect on January 1, 2019.  The new rules require food establishments to distribute food and beverages with marine degradable food service ware.  Permitted materials include: paper, fiber, wood, wheat straw/straw, bagasse or edible material. The ordinance prohibits plastic (#1-6), bio-plastic (#7/PLA) and aluminum.  Disposable food service ware items include straws, utensils, stirrers, lid plugs, plates, trays, bowls, containers, cups and cup lids.  Additionally, marine degradable straws and utensils may only be provided upon request.

Due to the lack of market-ready marine degradable cups and cup lids, some product categories will be exempt from the ordinance for one year. Businesses will be required to provide marine degradable cups and cup lids beginning January 1, 2020 instead of 2019. The exemption allows product manufacturers, distributors and businesses additional time to develop and procure compliant cups and cup lids. Council has limited this exemption to one year. By January 1, 2020, staff expects that all cups and cup lids will also be non-plastic and compostable in compliance with the ordinance.

Enforcement measures will begin July 1, 2019, allowing for a six-month adjustment period for impacted businesses.

“The ordinance will protect the Santa Monica Bay from plastic pollution while reducing landfilled waste by making food and food-related waste, readily recyclable in the expanding organics collection system – furthering the City’s sustainability goals, which includes the goal to achieve zero waste by 2030,” the City said in a statement.

The Office of Sustainability and the Environment (OSE) staff have been working with local food and beverage providers, distributors and manufacturers to prepare for implementation and compliance.

For more information, please visit www.smgov.net/foodware.