To meet our zero waste goals, the City is considering updates to the Polystyrene Foam Food Service Ware Ordinance to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste and litter generated in Mountain View. The expanded ordinance would require restaurants and other food providers to only offer customers food service ware accessory items upon request or at self-service stations and ensure that most types of food service ware can be composted in Mountain View's organics collection program. The changes are currently proposed to take effect in 2023 if adopted by the City Council this fall.
Summary of proposed changes:
"Food Provider" means any establishment, vendor, business, organization, entity, group or individual located or operating in the City of Mountain View that offers prepared food or beverages, regardless of whether there is a charge for the prepared food. Similar to the existing Polystyrene Foam Food Service Ware Ordinance, the new requirements for food service ware would not apply to prepackaged food.
More information about the proposed changes:
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These proposed changes to the Food Service Ware Ordinance are part of the City's Zero Waste Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in October 2019. An ordinance to address single-use plastics was originally recommended by the second Environmental Sustainability Task Force, a Council Advisory Body of appointed community members, in their Final Report to the City Council in June 2018.
The intent of the updated Food Service Ware Ordinance is to:
The existing ban on the use or sale of polystyrene foam food service ware and ice chests by Food Providers and other vendors in the City of Mountain View would remain in effect. For details on the current Polystyrene Foam Food Service Ware Ordinance, see below.
The purpose of the Polystyrene Foam Food Service Ware Ordinance is to reduce polystyrene plastic in waterways and comply with regional water quality control requirements. The Mountain View City Council adopted the Ordinance on March 25, 2014.
Affected businesses include restaurants, bars, pubs, caterers, cafeterias, coffee shops, delis, liquor or convenience stores, grocery and markets, mobile food trucks or cart vendors, festivals or any retail food establishment.
Polystyrene foam food service ware means containers such as a cup, bowl, plate, tray, carton, or clamshell container (lid is hinged to the bottom). They are sometimes referred to as expanded polystyrene (EPS) or Styrofoam, and may have a #6 resin code on the bottom and are usually white in color.
Violations of this ordinance may result in a written warning for a first offense. Repeated non-compliance with the ordinance terms are subject to warning, citation and/or fine per the City of Mountain View Municipal Code.
See below outreach resources for businesses and other establishments which may be affected by the Polystyrene Food Service Ware Ordinance.