Disposal Foodware Ordinance

Effective January 1, 2020, the following items are no longer allowed in the City of Palo Alto and City of Mountain View: Plastic straws, utensils, stirrer sticks, drink plugs, produce bags, bundled utensils and condiments, and other disposable plastic items. In addition, effective January 1, 2022, State requirements from Assembly Bill 1276 no longer allows bundled foodware items with single use disposable condiments.

Cities have adopted the Disposable Foodware Items and Other Disposable Products Ordinance to protect local watersheds and oceans, reduce litter, and encourage Zero Waste.

Who is Affected: 

  • All food service establishments will be affected. This includes restaurants, bars, delis, grocery stores, food trucks, hotels, convenience stores —anyone serving food.
  • Third-party food delivery and food service establishments that provide online ordering and delivery services.

What is Required: 

  • Use only reusable or compostable utensils, straws, stirrers, drink plugs, unbundled utensils and condiments, and other small plastic foodware items.
  • Compostable items must be acceptable in the compost collection program for City of Palo Alto and the City of Mountain View.
  • Offer disposable items only upon request, via a self-serve station, or provide customers with the ability to “opt-in” to receive utensils and condiments on online ordering and delivery platforms.


Addition to the Disposal Foodware Ordinance, effective July 1, 2020, City of Palo Alto businesses and residents who choose to use bags in their compost collection containers must use compostable plastic bags.

What is Required:

  • Bags used to hold produce, meat, bulk food, or other food items must be acceptable in the City’s compost collection program.
  • The City’s compost program accepts paper bags and bags made of compostable plastic if they meet the ASTM Standard Specifications for composability (D6400 or D6868), or the product is Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) certified.

Who is Affected:

  • All retail service establishments and farmers markets that use produce bags as defined above are affected. This includes grocery stores, markets, and farmers markets.


If you are a business in the City of Palo Alto visit Zero Waste Resources page for more information and factsheets to comply with the new ordinance. See a business who needs help complying with the new ordinance?  Contact the City of Palo Alto Zero Waste at (650) 496-5910 or zerowaste@cityofpaloalto.org.