Zero Waste Food Ware Ordinance

The Sebastopol City Council recently updated its existing Polystyrene Foam Ban and Disposable Food Service Ware ordinance.

The original ordinance, which went into effect in November of 2019, banned polystyrene foam takeout food ware and retail sales (packing peanuts, coolers, etc.), and required that all takeout food ware be either compostable or recyclable, with the exception of coffee cups and soup/ hot liquid containers (for which there is currently no commercially available compostable or recyclable products). “Compostable” plastic items (cups, utensils, straws, etc.) are banned, as they are not accepted by commercial compost facilities and are also not accepted in recycling. The original ordinance also required that food vendors only give condiment packets, straws, lids, napkins, and single use utensils upon customer request.

Effective August 1st, 2022, the updated ordinance, now named the Zero Waste

  • Food Ware Ordinance, now matches the Zero Waste Food Ware Ordinance passed by the Santa Rosa City Council. In addition to the requirements in the original ordinance (above), the Sebastopol City Council added the following provisions:
  • Foodware containing Per – and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) is prohibited
  • Dine-In Food Facilities within in the City shall:
  • Only use Reusable Food Ware and Reusable Food Ware Accessories;
  • Offer Condiments in a Reusable dispenser or format rather than pre-packaged single-use packets.
  • Food facilities which provide customer-facing waste containers shall provide all three waste stream containers for customers (compost, recycling, garbage)
  • Food Facilities within the City offering take-out shall provide options for customers to affirmatively request food ware accessories [e.g., condiment packets, utensils] separate from orders for food and beverages
  • Plastic bags for takeout food are prohibited