Plastic cups, straws and cutlery will soon vanish from every restaurant, fast food joint and coffee and tea shop in Mountain View, after the City Council voted unanimously last week to roll out a ban on non-compostable disposable food service ware. Starting in 2023, the ordinance requires all food providers to ditch plastic single-use food service ware, which includes cups, plates, trays, cartons and wrappers. Instead, they will be required to use either aluminum or compostable fiber-based containers. The ban also applies to straws, stirrers, food picks and toothpicks.

The new rules won quick approval from council members at the Nov. 9 meeting, who saw the ordinance as a means to cut down on food waste headed for landfills as well as a way to improve the health of people who eat in Mountain View. The ordinance requires that all food containers be free of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS, which are toxic chemicals that are harmful when consumed.

The narrow requirements for fiber-based containers will affect hundreds of businesses, including 112 full-service restaurants, bars and nightclubs, as well as 80 “counter service” businesses like bakeries and ice cream shops. The city’s 30 coffee, tea and juice businesses, which rely on clear plastic cups that will soon be noncompliant, are expected to be affected the most by the new rules, along with 22 fast food restaurants.

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Author: Kevin Forestieri, Mountain View Voice
Image: Magali Gauthier, Mountain View Voice