CARLSBAD, Calif. – Starting today, a new ordinance goes into effect in Carlsbad intended to reduce the number of single-use plastics handed out by restaurants and food delivery services.
The rules, approved by Carlsbad City Council in April, mandate that eateries only provide items such as straws, utensils and condiment packets when asked by customers. They’re largely based on the framework of AB-1276, a California law — referred to by some as ‘Skip the Stuff’ — signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last October.
The state law effectively changes California’s Public Resource Code for single-use food accessories and standard condiments, a fact sheet from the state’s Department of Public Health shows. It requires customers to request single-use accessories and for restaurants to provide only the single-use accessories needed for ready-to-eat food, among other requirements.
Eateries that use third-party delivery services like Uber Eats or DoorDash also must list available single-use accessories and condiments. Only ones requested by customers will be delivered.
Those rules have limits, however. They are not applicable to correctional institutions, public and private school cafeterias, residential care facilities and licensed health care facilities, according to the state.
Under the state’s law, cities and counties have until Wednesday to authorize an enforcement agency for the law. Once it is fully implemented, the first and second violations would result in a notice and additional violations could result in a $25 fine with a $300 annual cap.
But Carlsbad and other local municipalities have been proactive about reducing plastic use.
Next month, Carlsbad’s ban on single-use plastic foodware and polystyrene goes into effect. The city plans to phase in enforcement of that rule by July 2023.
“This ban goes above and beyond state law and is part of Carlsbad`s commitment to sustainability,” the city said in a statement in April.
The San Diego Union-Tribune also reported Oceanside, Encinitas, Del Mar and San Diego have made efforts to halt the distribution of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retail outlets.
The Surfrider Foundation hopes a more comprehensive ban will be passed at the state level as a ballot initiative.
“What this ballot initiative will be able to do is actually place these requirements to ensure that packaging, single-use packaging is reusable, refillable, recyclable or compostable by 2030 so there’s a lot of options,” said Mitch Silverstein of the Surfrider Foundation.
Residents living in Carlsbad offered mixed opinions on upcoming bans with some arguing they’re necessary to stop pollution while others say they’re a relative inconvenience.
“I think that’s a good move,” resident Aaron Houpy said. “It makes people think about the products that they’re wasting, so I think it’s a good idea.”
“Is it abrupt? Yes, but you know we’ve been hearing about it for quite some time,” resident Mark Hudson said, “but it’s going to be a major change.”