San Francisco Department of the Environment

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The Plastic, Toxics, and Litter Reduction Ordinance will eliminate sources of litter while making the San Francisco dining experience more environmentally friendly.

prohibited items
The Single-Use Foodware Plastics, Toxics and Litter Reduction Ordinance will reduce plastic pollution by prohibiting, among other foodware accessories, the distribution of plastic straws, which too often wind up on our streets and in our oceans. The ordinance will also eliminate toxic fluorinated chemicals from foodware products while strengthening compostability standards and recycling markets.

The ordinance will start to take effect July 1, 2019:


  1. Plastic-Free & Compostable Plastic-Free – Straws, stirrers, toothpicks, beverage plugs, and cocktail sticks must be plastic-free (paper, bamboo, wood, metal, or fiber).
  2. Customer Request for Accessories – Single-use foodware accessory items must be provided only upon customer request or by self-serve. Accessories include: straws, sleeves, lids, stirrers, beverage plugs, utensils, condiment packets and napkins.
  3. Certified Compostable Foodware - Foodware that is accepted in San Francisco’s composting program must be BPI (Biodegradable Product Institute) certified to be considered truly compostable.
  4. Eliminating Fluorinated Chemicals – After January 1, 2020, all compostable foodware that is distributed, sold or provided in San Francisco must have no intentionally added fluorinated chemicals. To verify, foodware must be BPI certified.
  5. 10% Reusable Cups for City-owned and City-leased facilities as well as any outdoor permitted City events – As of January 1, 2020, events in these categories with 100 or more attendees must provide reusable cups as an option for 10% of attendees.
  6. Minimum post-consumer recycled content – May be required for specific foodware, such as cups, after January 1, 2020 if adopted through regulations.
  7. Outreach – Information and acceptable product information will be provided by the Department through its website and directly to stores, food vendors, city facility food providers and City departments.


The current legislation that was approved by the Board of Supervisors has an exemption for people with disabilities or those that have a medical condition who require access to the accessories mentioned above. Based on feedback from people with disabilities and the Mayor’s Office on Disability, Supervisor Katy Tang will introduce an amendment to the language of the ordinance that will strengthen the existing provision based on stakeholder input. This amendment is expected to be heard in Committee at the Board of Supervisors this Fall.   

In addition, as the Department conducts outreach on the ordinance, we will educate businesses on this exemption and the need to accommodate people who have disabilities or medical conditions with the necessary resources. We are committed to working with the disability community to ensure that this ordinance has no undue impact and we will continue to coordinate with the Mayor’s Office on Disability.

Learn more: Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance  (PDF)

Related Content

Supervisor Katy Tang and the San Francisco Department of the Environment Propose Bold Plastics and Litter Reduction Ordinance to Help Clean San Francisco’s Streets and Waterways

Last updated: July 25, 2018


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