City of El Cerrito Foodware Ordinance

EXPANDED FOODWARE ORDINAnCE


The City of El Cerrito adopted a Foodware Ordinance in 2013 to prohibit expanded polystyrene foam (“styrofoam”) take-out containers, and require the use of reusable, recyclable, or compostable foodware. Now, the City is proposing changes to the municipal code to phase out single-use plastic foodware items in the city and encourage the use of reusable and compostable containers to help protect waterways, promote environmental sustainability, and reduce waste. If approved, this would apply to all food providers in the city and include products such as non-compostable, non-reusable straws, eating utensils, and food containers. Food providers would continue to include any vendor, business, organization, entity, group, or individual, including any restaurant or retail food establishment, and any provider of prepared food at organized or special events, in El Cerrito.

City Staff are currently sharing information, listening to concerns, answering questions, and gathering input as we continue to develop the ordinance. This will include letters and in-person outreach to over 100 businesses that will be impacted, hosting multiple public meetings, print and online outreach efforts, and engaging with stakeholders from the business community, the Environmental Quality Committee, and the City’s ADA Working group. Staff anticipate bringing the draft ordinance for City Council consideration in late Spring 2020. If the Ordinance is adopted, the City will provide a brochure to all affected businesses and food providers with instructions on how to comply. The City would also provide free technical training to businesses and food providers before pursuing any enforcement actions.

For more information about the proposed Expanded Foodware Ordinance, or to submit comments, contact Will Provost at (510) 525-7622 or wprovost@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

The Public Comment Period on the draft will be open until March 6, 2020.

Find details below about:

  • Who will be required to comply with the updated ordinance
  • Timeline for adoption and implementation
  • Why the City is updating the ordinance
  • How to know what disposable foodware is compostable
  • Who to contact with questions

WHO IS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH THE UPDATED ORDINANCE?
All food providers located or operating within the City of El Cerrito and any provider of prepared food at organized or special events occurring within the city will be required to comply with the updated ordinance. The City will help food providers by providing technical assistance prior to any enforcement action and build public awareness to support a smooth transition. This includes restaurants, grocery stores, delicatessens, mobile food preparation and sale units, drive-ins, coffee shops, cafeterias, short-order cafes, luncheonettes, grills, sandwich shops, hotels, motels, movie houses, theatres, bed and breakfast inns, taverns, bars, cocktail lounges, nightclubs, roadside stands, take-out prepared food places, industrial feeding establishments, catering kitchens, commissaries, special events, food markets, produce stands, and food stands.


WHEN WILL THE FOODWARE ORDINANCE UPDATES TAKE PLACE?


TIMELINE FOR TRANSITION
2020_0121_Factsheet_Timeline_For_Transition

HOW CAN I GIVE FEEDBACK OR LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TRANSITION?

In early 2020, the City will visit applicable food establishments and City committees to share the draft Foodware Ordinance, listen to concerns, answer questions, and revise the draft ordinance to reflect the comments received.

Food establishments are invited to schedule a visit or consultation with the City to receive information, ask questions to know how you will be affected, or share your thoughts.

You can also attend public committee meetings and the City Council meeting to learn more:
Public Meeting hosted by the City’s Environmental Quality Committee
March 10, 2020, 7 p.m.
El Cerrito City Hall Council Chambers
10890 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530

For more information about the proposed Expanded Foodware Ordinance, or to submit comments, contact Will Provost at (510) 525-7622 or wprovost@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.


WHY IS THE CITY OF EL CERRITO MAKING THESE CHANGES TO THE FOODWARE ORDINANCE?


By reducing the use of single-use plastic foodware through the proposed changes to the El Cerrito Foodware Ordinance, the City is taking real steps to reduce the community’s environmental impact, reduce recycling contamination and costs, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and use of single-use plastic, in line with the City’s Climate Action Plan and Strategic Plan goals. Single-use plastic negatively impacts the environment in a variety of ways, such as through pollution, blocked storm drains, and greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, single-use plastic and “styrofoam” products have increasingly been identified as having harmful effects to the environment and human health. For example, single use plastic foodware products:
Eliminating the use of single-use plastic foodware products would help protect local waterways and promote environmental sustainability in El Cerrito

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH DISPOSABLE FOODWARE PRODUCTS MEET THE CITY’S REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPOSTING?


The City will provide more specific information about approved products, and food providers can visit this website to search for specific products or vendors that provide compostable materials: https://www.bpiworld.org/CertifiedCompostable.

To comply with the Foodware Ordinance, disposable foodware products must be able to be composted through the City’s available composting and green waste collection programs. There are some plastic products on the market that are biodegradable, meaning, they break down and decompose in the environment. However, the Foodware Ordinance would not allow any plastic products, even if they are biodegradable, because these do not break down well in the City’s commercial green waste program. To make sure the disposable foodware you provide in the future will work in the City’s composting system, look for products that:
  • Are BPI Certified.
  • Meet the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International standards D6400 or D6868 for compostable materials.
  • Are made of paper, bamboo, sugar cane, or other natural materials that can be composted.
Plastic or bioplastic foodware will be prohibited, including bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, straws, stirrer, lids, utensils, and other items that are designed for one-time use for prepared foods, including foodware for take-out foods and/or leftovers from partially consumed meals prepared by food providers.

City staff also provide free training and guidance. Reach out to green@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us or (510) 559-7686 for more information.

QUESTIONS?

Contact Operations and Environmental Services Acting Division Manager, Will Provost at (510) 525-7622 or
WProvost@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?


Retailers or consumers who have any questions about these new regulations are encouraged to call the El Cerrito Operations + Environmental Services Division at 510-215-4350.
  1. Will Provost

    Management Analyst II
    Phone: (510) 525-7622

  2. Laurenteen Brazil

    Waste Prevention Specialist
    Phone: 510-559-7686