Food Facilities

FOOD FACILITy resources

This page provides important resources for Mountain View food facilities on these topics:

disposable foodware
Disposable Foodware
Regulations

reusable foodware
Free Reusable Foodware 
Technical Assistance

food donation
Mandatory Food Recovery
and Donation

These resources help food facilities comply with State and City regulations as well as adopt zero waste practices to save money, conserve resources, and reduce landfilled waste. For trash, recycling and compost collection services, please visit the Businesses & Schools page.

Disposable Foodware Regulations

State Assembly Bill 1276 - Effective January1, 2022 

foodware accessories

California's AB 1276 prohibits food facilities from providing certain single-use foodware accessories (utensils, chopsticks, straws, stirrers, splash sticks and cocktail sticks) and condiments packaged for single use unless requested by the consumer. Single-use accessories or condiments cannot be bundled or packaged together. Additional requirements apply to food facilities and third-party food delivery services. For more details, please read our fact sheets:

 AB 1276 fact sheet  Ab 1276 fact sheet

 AB 1276 Fact Sheet (English)
(Chinese - 资料概览)
(Spanish - Hoja Informativa)

California Dept. of Public Health Fact Sheet

California Restaurant Association's helpful AB 1276 video:

  

Food facilities are encouraged to provide signage to notify customers that they must request accessories and condiments. Download and use the sample signage below or create your own.

accessories on request sign   accessories on request sign  accessories on request sign  accessories on request sign  accessories on request sign

For more information, contact Recycling & Zero Waste at 650-903-6311 or Recycle@MountainView.gov

City Foodware Ordinance - Effective January 1, 2023

Mountain View food facilities serving prepared food using non-reusable foodware or foodware accessories must meet the following requirements beginning January 1, 2023:

  • Foodware (plates bowls, cups, wrappers, other containers) must be compostable natural fiber or made entirely of recyclable aluminum. Fiber-based foodware may have a certified compostable plastic lining.
  • Compostable foodware must be certified free of fluorinated chemicals (PFAS) by a City-approved third party.
  • Straws, stirrers, toothpicks and food picks cannot be made from or packaged in plastic or compostable plastic (except for plastic straws provided on request to those with medical or physical needs).

Disposable plastic foodware, including items made from compostable plastic, are prohibited under the ordinance. Polystyrene "foam" foodware remains banned in Mountain View, as it has been since 2014.

The City has approved the following third-party certification organizations to verify that foodware is free of regulated PFAS and that any allowed compostable plastic lining is biodegradable:

To read the full text of the adopted Foodware Ordinance, please click here. For more information, consult these resources:

 thumbnail image of Foodware Ordinance fact sheet  Foodware Ordinance FAQ    

Ordinance Fact Sheet
(Chinese - 资料概览)
(Spanish - Hoja Informativa)

Foodware Ordinance
Frequently Asked Questions 

Foodware Regulations Summary Table
Coming soon!

Foodware Purchasing Guide
Coming soon! 

For more information, contact Recycling & Zero Waste at 650-903-6311 or Recycle@MountainView.gov.

Exemptions and Waivers

The City's Foodware Ordinance contains the following exemptions:

  • Prepackaged food is exempt, if provided to the consumer in the original packaging.
  • Plastic straws may be provided on request to customers who need them due to disability, medical or physical conditions or circumstances. Health care facilities may distribute plastic straws to patients at their discretion, with or without a request.
  • Foodware items may be designated as temporarily exempt by the City if no reasonably feasible compliant alternative exists.
  • During an emergency, the Foodware Ordinance regulations are suspended until the emergency is terminated.

Food facilities may apply for a waiver if compliance with the Foodware Ordinance will impose a unique hardship not generally applicable to other persons in similar circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • An undue economic hardship.
  • Use of a foodware item for which a suitable compliant alternative does not exist. This could include items such as specialty or custom packaging. Before applying for a waiver for a specific foodware item, please check the current list of temporarily exempt items.

Waivers are valid for no more than one year from date of issue. Food facilities must reapply to extend the waiver an additional year.

Please note that food facilities cannot request waivers for AB 1276, the state accessories on request law.

Enforcement and Violations

City staff will investigate alleged violations of City and State foodware regulations. Non-compliant businesses will receive educational materials to help them understand and meet the regulations. Repeated AB 1276 violations shall result in fines as outlined in Public Resources Code Section 42272. Repeated violations of the City's Foodware Ordinance may result in fines or other penalties described in the City Code.

If you receive a Notice of Violation for either AB 1276 or the City's Foodware Ordinance, please follow the steps outlined on the Notice to bring your facility into compliance with the applicable code section. For questions, contact Recycling & Zero Waste at 650-903-6311 or Recycle@MountainView.gov.

 

Reusable FoodWare

reusable dishes

Food ware is the products used for serving or consuming food at a food facility, including plates, bowls, cups, and utensils. Reusable items are specifically designed and manufactured for repeated cleaning, disinfecting, and reuse over an extended period of time.

The City encourages food facilities to provide reusables to customers wherever possible. The benefits of choosing reusables include:

  • Lower environmental impact. Disposable items that are used once and thrown away are a waste of energy and resources, and certain types of food ware such as utensils and straws often end up as litter in our streets and waterways.  Most plastic food ware is not recyclable and ends up in the landfill. The EPA created a guide to Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging to help food service establishments and commercial kitchens reduce waste.
  • Cost savings for your business. Over time, replacing disposables with reusable food ware can reduce costs. Though disposable items are relatively inexpensive, continuous repurchasing can add up costs compared to an investment in reusables. ReThink Disposable created a guide to reusables including a cost-benefit calculator to show how reusables can cost your business less than disposables over time.
  • Reusables are sanitary and safe to use with proper dishwashing in accordance with the practices required under the California Retail Food Code. Reusable food ware has no higher risk of spreading viruses and bacteria compared to disposable food ware. The organization UPSTREAM created an FAQ guide regarding the safety of reuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Mandatory Food Recovery and Donation

Commercial edible food generators are required to recover edible food for donation under a new California law, Senate Bill 1383. Currently, this regulation applies only to Tier 1 generators described below, but will expand to Tier 2, which is most other businesses that provide food, by 2024. Visit SCCFoodRecovery.org to find out more and ensure your food facility is compliant.

infographic of Tier 1 and Tier 2 edible food generators

What is a Food Facility?

A food facility is defined under Section 113789 of the California Retail Food Code as an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption at the retail level, regardless of whether there is a charge for the food. Food facilities include permanent and nonpermanent food facilities, such as restaurants, commissaries, fast food establishments, coffee shops, mobile food facilities, vending machines, certified farmers' markets, microenterprise home kitchen operations, temporary food facilities such as those at events, catering operations, etc.

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