Plastic Free Straws and Foodware


In the Fall of 2017, the Alameda City Council took a giant step toward reducing plastic litter in our environment by passing the Alameda Disposable Food Service Ware Reduction Law

This law was created to reduce the number of single-use plastics generated within the City of Alameda.  These plastics are rapidly polluting the San Francisco Bay, the ocean, and are destroying precious marine life as tiny plastics mimic food in the natural environment. 

 Beginning January 1, 2018:

  • Straws-on-request: Single-use plastic straws must be replaced with compostable fiber (paper/bamboo) straws, and these straws should be provided only upon request of the customer. 
  • Encouraging businesses, customers and friends to go reusable will always be better for the environment.
  • When a reusable option is not available nor convenient, Alameda food vendors will begin providing compostable, fiber-based packaging for to-go items.


Read this (link to document(PDF, 109KB)) to find out Alameda’s official definition of compostable

Short answer: disposable compostable fiber products are compliant food ware in Alameda.  Compostable plastic products are not compliant with the Law.

By finding new ways to reduce to-go packaging, Alamedans are ensuring fewer straws and other single-use disposable items will become litter on our beaches and streets and are reducing tons going to the landfill.

Other items of note:

  • If it looks or feels like plastic - it is not compostable in Alameda's system. 
  • If the disposable food ware is clean aluminum, like the foil wrapper on your burrito, that material is easily recyclable and exempt under the new law.

Need tips for how to be in compliance?  Please call 510-747-7900 for assistance. The downloadable materials below include more details about the ordinance.


Report the use of Straws and Plastic Food Service Ware in a business or agency in the City of Alameda here.