Andrew Graham, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Say goodbye to the Polystyrene to-go box.
A variety of single-use food containers will be banned in Santa Rosa beginning Jan. 1, 2022 under a new ordinance passed by the city council Tuesday night.
The city has a Santa Rosa Zero Waste Master Plan that calls for reducing the city’s trash output by more than half — from today’s 2.5 pounds of trash per person per day to one pound per person per day — by 2030.
In pursuit of that goal, the city’s new ordinance will ban the use or sale of food service containers made of Polystyrene foam. The ban will eliminate the ubiquitous white foam “clamshell” food box used by food truck and to-go food vendors.
The city will also outlaw food service ware containing chemicals known as PFAS. Sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found these chemicals to last for a long time in both the human body and environment without breaking down. Research has found various adverse impacts on human health.
Also under the ordinance, restaurants will provide plastic food ware only upon request. Restaurants can only offer reusable dishes and cutlery for on-site dining.
With the council’s vote, Santa Rosa joined a wave of Sonoma County cities passing ordinances banning single use food containers. Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Sonoma and Windsor have all passed some version of the ordinance, though two of those cities are now considering an amendment to include the ban on PFAS.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on an ordinance in late August.
The ordinances have been pushed by Zero Waste Sonoma, a joint powers board governing waste management for both the unincorporated county and Sonoma County cities.