Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance

Background 

The City of Daly City is working closely with the County of San Mateo's Office of Sustainability on a possible Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance to eliminate the unnecessary distribution and use of single use plastics. 

Disposable Food Service Ware refers to one-time use items associated with food, such as bowls, plates, clamshells, and other to-go boxes; utensils; cups, cup sleeves, cup lids, cup spill plugs, stirrers; straws; napkins, condiment packets; cocktail/toothpicks; etc.

The use of singe use plastics is a significant issue for our community and others because over 1.3 million pounds of trash enter the San Francisco Bay every year, and 80% of plastic pollution consists of single-use food and beverage packaging.

Who will this impact?

  • Food facilities - any vendor, business, organization, entity, group, or individual that provides prepared food for public consumption. Examples: restaurants, mobile food facilities, temporary food facilities, farmers markets, etc.


How will this impact food facilities?

  • Accessories (e.g., straws, stirrers, cup spill plugs, etc.) can only be provided to consumers (1) when requested, (2) upon acceptance by the consumer after being offered by the food facility, or (3) at self-serve stations/dispensers. Accessories will be distributed unbundled as separate individual units. Take-out food delivery services that utilize digital ordering platforms shall provide clear options for customers to affirmatively request accessories.
  • Straws, stirrers, utensils, and cocktail/toothpicks (and the packaging that these individual items are wrapped in, if any) must be made from non-plastic, compostable materials. Acceptable materials include natural fiber-based products such as paper, sugarcane, wheat stalk/stem, bamboo, wood, etc. Traditional plastics (petroleum-based) and compostable plastics (aka bioplastics or polyactic acid [PLA]) shall not be allowed for the items listed above.
  • Plates, bowls, cups, food trays, clamshells, boxes, deli containers, and other containers must be non-plastic and compostable. These items may be lined with, but not made entirely of compostable plastic. Additionally, these items shall be certified by Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) or approved third party. 
  • Exemptions are allowed for disposable food service ware made from aluminum, medical accommodations, healthcare facilities, and drive-through areas. See Ordinance Proposal Summary for exact details.

Outreach and Education

  • The City developed a dedicated webpage to educate the community about single-use plastics in Fall 2019. 
  • The City launched an online survey beginning in September 2019.
  • The City conducted targeted outreach to 293 food facilities in October 2019.
  • The City halted efforts to adopt the Ordinance in Spring 2020 due to the significant impacts the pandemic had on our business community. 
  • The City hosted two online Sustainability Workshops for Businesses in partnership with Republic Services to provide education and answer questions related to Disposable Food Service Ware in November 2020.
  • The City will host additional online Sustainability Workshops for Businesses in partnership with Republic Services to provide further education and answer questions related to Disposable Food Service Ware in Summer 2021.