Restaurants, cafes and other food-service businesses in unincorporated Marin could soon be required to use foodware that is reusable or compostable, prohibiting single-use plastics. At a public workshop via Zoom, county planners detailed a proposed ordinance that would also apply to places like grocery stores food counters, delis, bakeries, farmers markets, food trucks and carry-out vendors.
Items such as plates, bowls, cups, utensils and other foodware would have to be made of reusable, or a compostable fiber-based material. Bioplastics, which are materials made from renewable sources — like corn and sugarcane — would be noncompliant. “A lot of these bioplastics that are labeled compostable actually are not accepted at local compost facilities,” said Dana Armanino, the county’s senior sustainability planner.
Armanino said that includes the county’s largest waste-product processor, the WM EarthCare Compost Facility at the Redwood Landfill and Recycling Center. The “compostable” cups and other containers gaining popularity end up in the landfill, she said. “What we’re saying is that reusables are considered best, while compostable fiber foodware is compliant,” Armanino said. “We’re going to be doing a big push with businesses to assist them in identifying what their barriers are and how we can get businesses across all geographies in Marin onboard.” Armanino said she anticipates cost and equipment could be potential hurdles for businesses. There could be grant opportunities and county staffers would be available to help the changeover.