If you own a restaurant in California, you may wonder how the new plastic straw and styrofoam bans affect your business. Do you have to completely eliminate plastic straws? What if you are more of a fast-food restaurant? Does the ban still apply? What happens if a restaurant violates the ban? Do you have to eliminate Styrofoam containers? Find out more about how your business may be affected by the plastic straw and styrofoam ban in California below.
Plastic Straw Ban
The plastic straw ban is statewide in California and was passed under Assembly Bill 1884. The bill prohibits any full-service restaurant from providing customers with single-use plastic straws. However, customers are still able to legally request a plastic straw and receive one after that request. If a restaurant is found to be in violation of the plastic straw ban, the first infraction would result in a notice of violation. Any subsequent violation receives a fine of $25 per day for each day they are in violation of the plastic straw ban. However, the total amount of a fine is capped at only $300 per year, so a restaurant that still serves plastic straws will only be charged at most $300 per year. It is important to note that all fast food restaurants are completely exempt from this bill. Several cities within California have enacted their own legislation regarding plastic straws which may mirror the state law or be more strict.
If you are a restaurant, it is likely that many of your customers may request a take out order, or ask for their remaining meal to be packed up to be taken home. To-go cups and containers are often made from expanded polystyrene, which is also known as Styrofoam. These types of styrofoam containers are banned in several counties already in California, such as Monterey County and in cities such as Carpinteria, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, and Arroyo Grande. The state of California has tried on several occasions to attempt to enact a full statewide ban on Styrofoam containers without success in the past decade. In keeping with that trend, the California Senate outright rejected a bill that would attempt to ban restaurants, grocery stores, and food vendors from using any type of container or cup made of Styrofoam. While both Democratic and Republican senators have their own reasons for voting for or against this legislation, the truth is that many restaurants and food vendors are already proactively removing or phasing out their use of Styrofoam containers in their businesses. However, if you still use Styrofoam containers in your restaurant, you should not worry about any fines anytime soon.
Contact a California Food Law Attorney
At De Cárdenas Law Group, we make it our mission to help you with your food business. We can help you with everything from the food you serve to the legal requirements regarding its packaging such as plastic straws and Styrofoam containers. Give us the opportunity to show you how we can help you with our legal services. You can schedule a meeting with our legal team in San Francisco or South Pasadena by calling (626) 577-6800.