Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance


On September 13, 2021, the Daly City Council unanimously adopted a Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance to address plastic pollution by eliminating the unnecessary distribution and use of single-use plastics. This Ordinance repeals and replaces Chapter 8.64 of the Daly City Municipal Code, and builds upon previous City regulations that prohibited food vendors from using polystyrene-based disposable food service ware.

The City’s new regulation, modeled after the County of San Mateo, will require Daly City food facilities to transition to non-plastic alternatives—natural fiber-based products, such as paper, sugarcane, bamboo, and wood. Reusable alternatives shall be provided in place of disposable foodware, wherever practicable. Food facilities must also regulate the distribution of compliant disposable foodware accessories.

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 non-plastic and compostable materials, or reusable wherever practicable. 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, or reusable wherever practicable. 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

Developed a dedicated webpage to educate the community about single-use plastics in Fall 2019. 

Launched an online survey beginning in September 2019.

Conducted targeted outreach to 293 food facilities in October 2019.

Halted efforts to adopt the Ordinance in Spring 2020 due to the significant impacts the pandemic had on our business community. 

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.

Relaunched online survey in Spring 2021.  

Sought feedback from Small Business Commission in June 2021. 

Hosted a Sustainability Workshop for Businesses in partnership with Republic Services to provide further education and answer questions related to Disposable Food Service Ware in July 2021.

Introduced proposed County of San Mateo Model Ordinance with Reusable amendment to City Council in July 2021. 

Second reading and adoption of Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance scheduled for the September 13, 2021 Regular City Council Meeting. 

Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance adopted on September 13, 2021.