Foodware Aware

Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance

In 2011, the City of Foster City adopted San Mateo County Ordinance Code Chapter 4.107 by reference. At that time, Chapter 4.107 was a Polystyrene Ban Ordinance. In 2020, the County repealed the Polystyrene Ban Ordinance and replaced it with a Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance (Ordinance). The Ordinance was then updated in February 2022 to align with AB 1200 and AB 1276, which were approved by the Governor in October 2021. This Ordinance aims to regulate and reduce the amount of plastic disposable foodware that is used and distributed in Foster City and to encourage the use of reusable alternatives.

The compliance start date for the updated Ordinance is October 1, 2022, providing time for food facilities to comply with these requirements. This Ordinance will be enforced by the County of San Mateo's Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the City.

The objectives of the Ordinance are to:

  • Reduce waste by eliminating disposable foodware that is not reusable or compostable;
  • Improve the health and safety of community members; and
  • Help keep our waterways clean and safe.

Key elements of the Ordinance include requiring:

  1. Most disposable foodware to be non-plastic, fiber-based, and compostable;
  2. Larger disposable foodware items such as bowls, plates, and clamshells to have little/no harmful fluorinated chemicals; and
  3. The distribution of disposable foodware accessories should be upon request only, at self-serve areas, and/or when a consumer accepts an offer by the food operator.
disposablegraphic

Resources Available to Impacted Food Facilities
FAQs, a purchasing guide for acceptable disposable items, outreach materials (e.g., tent cards, employee guide, etc.), and other resources for food facilities are available at the County of San Mateo’s Foodware Aware Program website.

Free technical assistance is available for food facilities to help meet the requirements of the Ordinance as well as go beyond the requirements and switch to reusable foodware. Up to $300 is available for food facilities who are interested in switching from disposable to reusable foodware!

Please contact the Foodware Aware Team for additional information:

Resources:

City of Foster City Municipal Code Chapter 8.08
County of San Mateo Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance - Chapter 4.107
County of San Mateo’s Model Foodware Ordinance Summary (English)
County of San Mateo Foodware Aware Program Website
Purchasing Guide listing acceptable disposable and reusable foodware
Template Letter Requesting Restaurants to Consider Non-Plastic Foodware