The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in most of our County’s food facilities serving to-go meals and only offering single-use foodware. Though the country has re-opened after months of lockdowns, consumers and food service providers have remained dependent on single-use plastic bags, containers, and utensils while ignoring the waste disposal problem these items cause.

Beginning January 1, 2022, Assembly Bill 1276 (AB 1276) prohibits food facilities from providing any single-use foodware accessory or standard condiment to a consumer unless requested by the consumer. By limiting these items to upon request only, AB 1276 seeks to eliminate the unnecessary waste these items create. These often unused items take up valuable landfill space, contaminate recycling processes, and pollute our local streets and waterways.  

AB 1276 includes the following items as “single-use foodware accessory”:

  1. Utensils, which is defined as forks, knives, spoons, and sporks
  2. Chopsticks
  3. Condiment cups and packets
  4. Straws
  5. Stirrers
  6. Splash sticks
  7. Cocktail sticks

Under AB 1276, “standard condiments” include: relishes, spices, sauces, confections, or seasoning that require no additional preparation and that are usually used on a food item after preparation, including ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, soy sauce, hot sauce, salsa, salt pepper, sugar, and sugar substitutes.

Food facilities, including food delivery services, must only provide single-use foodware accessories and standard condiments upon customer request.  Single-use accessories and condiments must not be bundled or packaged in a way that prohibits the consumer from taking only the item desired.  In self-serve areas, unwrapped single-use foodware accessories must be dispensed one at a time.  Drive throughs and public use airports may offer the items needed to eat or prevent spillage of the ready-to-eat food.  Third-party delivery platforms must list on their menu the availability of single-use foodware accessories and standard condiments and only provide those items when requested.

This law does not apply to correctional institutions, health care facilities, residential care facilities, and public and private school cafeterias.

Click here to view the AB 1276 Fact Sheet

Click here to view AB 1276 bill

Click here to view section 113789 of the Health and Safety Code

Signage to place in your location to make customers aware of the change:

AB1276 Sticker

AB1276 Restaurant Sign

Uber Eats recently introduced a new feature that requires customers to opt in to receive single-use items such as utensils and straws. It’s their way of promoting mindful behavior. 

Find paper and wood products certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The safety of reuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indisposable: The Safety and Future of Reuse.

Sample postcards and signage to communicate your commitment to reducing single-use plastics.

Need more inspiration? Click here to read more stories about how restaurants are working to quickly move away from single-use takeout utensils and accessories.

Fight plastic pollution every time you eat out by downloading the PlasticScore app. 

PlasticScore is a crowdsourced zero waste rating for restaurants. PlasticScore funds plastic waste offsets for every review, and they use the data to help create a world free of plastic pollution.

Learn more about the impacts of trashy dining.