Plastic Free Straws and Foodware

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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.

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In the Summer of 2022, the Alameda City Council adopted state law Assembly Bill (AB) 1276 to reduce single-use foodware accessories. This will help reduce the amount of unnecessary single-use food ware items from being distributed.

Beginning January 1, 2022 state law requires:

  • Single-use accessories and condiments on request only: Food facilities and third-party food delivery platforms (such as DoorDash and Postmates) are not allowed to provide single-use items and condiments unless requested by the customer.
  • Items that are by-request-only include: utensils, chopsticks, condiment cups and packets, straws, stirrers, splash sticks, cocktail sticks, and condiments such as single-use packets of ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, salsa, soy sauce, sugar, and salt.
  • Businesses are subject to penalties for violations.

More information about AB 1276 can be found here.

Business can access customizable signage in English and Spanish here.

AND add text in GREEN: Report the use of Straws and Plastic Food Service Ware and Single-Use Food Accessories in a business or agency in the City of Alameda here.

Under “Compliant Food Ware” add:

Compliant (fiber-based) compostable products can be found through the Biodegradable Products Institute here.

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