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Food Packaging and Beverage Straw Ordinances Go Into Effect

Post Date:September 06, 2017 9:19 a.m.

Two new City ordinances went into effect September 1, 2017: The Environmentally Acceptable Food Packaging Ordinance and the Beverage Straw Ordinance.

Environmentally Acceptable Food Packaging Ordinance

With the implementation of the organics program in July 2016, most waste items are either accepted for recycling or composting through Davis Waste Removal (DWR) collection services.

In order to further reduce waste, on May 16, 2017, the Davis City Council passed an ordinance to ban polystyrene foam (a.k.a. “Styrofoam”) from being used for serving food and beverages in Davis. The ordinance requires all items used for serving food or beverages to either be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Polystyrene foam food and beverage packaging is not recyclable. Under the current city recycling program, most other single-use food packaging items are accepted as either recyclable or compostable.

Paper take-out coffee cups, paper plates, paper fries cups, and paper clamshells are all accepted for composting in the DWR recycling carts. Plastic disposable coffee cup lids, plastic straws, plastic utensils and all non-foam plastic cups are accepted for recycling in the DWR recycling carts.

This ordinance applies to any store, restaurant, delicatessen, catering vehicle, school, non-profit group and any other organization, group or individual which regularly provides food for public consumption on or off its premises. The ordinance includes plates, cups, bowls, take-out food clamshells, food wrappings, and other products used to serve food or beverages.

Beverage Straw Ordinance

In keeping with the established goal to pursue environmental sustainability and to continue to work towards the city’s zero waste goal to divert as much waste as possible from the landfill, on June 6 the Davis City Council passed an ordinance to eliminate unwanted beverage straws.

At their April 25 meeting, the Council expressed an interest in a new ordinance that would reduce the number of single-use beverage straws that are distributed by restaurants to customers. 

The Beverage Straw Ordinance requires sit-down restaurants in Davis to ask dine-in customers if they want a single-use beverage straw before providing one.

While currently accepted for recycling by Davis Waste Removal, single-use beverage straws are often given by default in restaurants to all customers ordering a beverage.  These straws may not be wanted by all customers, and are discarded even if they are unused.

This ordinance increases awareness in the community of the simple decisions anyone can make to reduce waste and allows customers to make the choice of whether or not they want a straw for their beverage.

The ordinance only applies to beverages consumed in sit-down restaurants. The ordinance does not apply to take-out food orders at any restaurant, fast-food orders, and other locations that provide food or drink for consumption off the premises.

For more information, and to see the full text of both ordinances, please visit