New Law Will End Use of Wasteful Food Containers at State Facilities

Governor Signs Allen Legislation on Sustainable Food Packaging

Thursday, September 20, 2018

 

Sacramento, CA – Legislation authored by Senator Ben Allen (D - Santa Monica) to end the use of wasteful take-out food containers in food facilities operated on state properties, including state parks and beaches, was signed into law today by Governor Jerry Brown.  SB 1335 would require that all food containers provided at food facilities in state-owned properties be recyclable or compostable by January 1, 2021.

“California will set a positive example by showing the world that it’s possible to switch from environmentally damaging food packaging to sustainable alternatives.  Our new policy will help lead the way to widespread availability and acceptance of to-go food containers that are affordable, recyclable, compostable and non-toxic,” Allen said.

Take-out food packaging in California generates tons of non-recyclable and non-compostable waste every day, much of which finds its way into the natural environment.  Once there, plastic packaging breaks down into impossible-to-clean-up pieces and is ingested by fish and other marine life.  A recent study by UC Davis surveying fish and shellfish sold at local fish markets found that a quarter of fish and a third of shellfish intended for human consumption contained plastic debris.  Reducing the volume of take-out food packaging is a necessary step in beginning to address the global environmental health crisis of plastic pollution and assist California in meeting its goal of diverting 75% of waste from landfills by 2020.

“There is no reason for state facilities to continue serving food in environmentally-harmful packaging that clogs our landfills, and pollutes our parks and beaches,” said Allen.  “The solution to wasteful packaging is here, it’s affordable, and the public is ready for it.”

The legislation requires CalRecycle, a state department that oversees recycling and resource conservation programs, to develop a list of acceptable packaging types to assist food vendors providing food service on state properties in complying with the law.

SB 1335 was sponsored by Californians Against Waste, and supported by the California Restaurant Association and dozens of cities and organizations across the state.

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Ben Allen represents California’s 26th Senate District, which includes the Westside, Hollywood and the South Bay communities of Los Angeles County.