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Waste Reduction Regulations Ordinance


Waste Reduction Regulations Ordinance

The Goal: Reduce single-use. Some plastic and paper cups, cutlery, napkins, and takeout containers cannot be recycled locally. Even many "compostable" plastic (bioplastic) items are not accepted in local compost programs.

The City of Burbank aims to tackle the issue of single-use plastic waste with the adpotion of the Waste Reduction Regulations Ordinance. This ordinance mandates better foodware options and eliminates unnecessary accessories to cut down on plastic litter, stormwater pollution, and resource consumption. 

The Waste Reduction Regulations Ordinance will prohibit:

  • The City's purchase of disposable water bottles for City events and facilities.

  • Polystyrene packaging material, foodware, and coolers (commonly identified as #6 or PS).

  • Single-use foodware for on-site dining at Burbank restaurants.

  • Non-recyclable or non-compostable foodware for take-out.

Food and beverage facilities include:

  • Restaurants, cafes, and cafeterias (dine-in, take out, or drive-through).

  • Bars.

  • Caterers.

  • Deli and catering services (grocers providing this service).

  • Bakeries.

  • Food Trucks.

  • Street food vendors (includes events).

  • Third-party food ordering platforms and delivery services.

  • Schools.

  • Farmers markets.

  • Food halls and event spaces.

Foodware vendors include:

  • Suppliers and Retailers.

  • Supermarkets.

  • Convenience stores.

  • All City of Burbank facilities and events.

Key dates and provisions of the ordinance include:

AB 1276 or “Upon Request”:

Effective March 15, 2024, in conjunction with State of California policy AB 1276, the ordinance prohibits food service businesses from providing any single-use food ware utensils, straws, or standard condiments to customers dining on site unless requested. To-go orders will be exempt from this regulation. (This joins other existing state  “upon request” policies include straws and serving water at sit-down restaurants.)

Expanded and rigid polystyrene (foam items, commonly identified as #6 or PS):

Effective July 1, 2024, the ordinance prohibits the use or sale of polystyrene packaging and food ware.

Plastic water bottles at City events and facilities:

Effective July 1, 2024, the City of Burbank will cease the purchase of plastic water bottles for city events and facilities, with limited exceptions.

Non-recyclable and non-compostable food ware for take-out:

Effective January 1, 2026, the ordinance prohibits food service businesses from using non-recyclable and/or non-compostable food ware. Businesses will be required to provide recyclable and/or compostable poly and perfluoroalkyl (PFAS) free substance food ware for take-out customers. PFAS are long-lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time and may have harmful effects on humans and animals. 

Reusable food ware for dine-in:

Effective January 1, 2026, the ordinance prohibits Burbank food service businesses from providing disposable food ware for customers dining on-site.

Waivers:

Businesses experiencing undue hardship may be exempt from complying with the ordinance through a case-by-case waiver application process. Check back for information on waiver applications.

Send questions to zerowaste@burbankca.gov.

To provide feedback or report SB1383/AB1276 violations, complete the Recycling Services, Foodware Accessories, and Edible Food Donation Complaints form

General Solid Waste issues reported here will receive a delayed response.
 
regulation resources

Learn about the state law that aims to drastically reduce organic waste and reduce methane emissions.

Find information regarding plant-based food packaging and the ban on foodware with PFAS or "forever chemicals". 

Read about the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Resonsibility Act which establishes recyclable and compostable standards. 
additional resources

Single Use is Rubbish 
Much of this material ends up in local landfills or even worse, as litter that creeps into waterways which flow to Los Angeles County beaches and the Pacific Ocean.

  • In 2016, the U.S. generated more plastic trash than any other country—46.3 million tons of it, according to a 2020 study published in Science Advances. That's 287 pounds per person in a single year! 

  • Plastic production is expected to more than double by 2050, and even if it doesn't, the plastic trash that people continue to throw away will still have to go somewhere (Consumer Reports). 

  • The problem with plastic recycling is that it is expensive to collect and sort. There are now thousands of different types of plastic, and none of them can be melted down together. Plastic also degrades after one or two uses.   

Plastic is Toxic If it Persists in the Environment

  • By the time these disposable products are in your hands, they've already taken a toll on the planet: Plastics are mostly made from fossil fuels, in an energy-intensive process that emits greenhouse gases and creates often hazardous chemicals.  

  • Millions of tons of plastic floats in the ocean in giant islands of plastic trash.

  • While it floats and degrades, the plastic leaches marine-toxic chemicals into the water (MarineSafe).

  • Unknown quantities have broken down into tiny toxic microplastic particles that act in the same way as micro beads, attracting and binding other pollutants and making themselves more toxic in the process. 

  • Greenpeace found the more plastic is reused the more toxic it becomes (NPR).

How businesses benefit 
Reducing the quantities of single-use items provided to customers saves money. Policies like AB 1276 ("upon request" accessories) also puts all food service businesses on the same playing field to ease customer concerns or confusion. 

Banning PFAS in Food Ware: 
AB 1200 and AB 1201 are new California laws that prohibit the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging and goods marked as compostable as of Jan. 1, 2025. PFAS, dubbed “forever chemicals,” are synthetic molecules that don’t break down in the environment and are linked as contributors to a host of health issues. The new law also requires manufacturers of such packaging to use “the least toxic alternative” when replacing PFAS.

Better Food Ware Options:  
Single-use plastic items use more water, energy and resources to produce than what would be needed to wash reusable items. Businesses can do their part now in reducing this waste by starting to make the transition away from polystyrene and other unrecyclable takeout ware. Ask your current supplier about more sustainable alternatives. 

Resources for Transitioning to Reusables and More Sustainable Options

Encourage Customers to BYO (Bring Your Own) 

  • Offer discounts to provide incentives 
  • Containers for leftovers  
  • Cups for refilling

Make sure you communicate to your customers all the sustainable efforts your business is making. It also helps to keep your employees motivated and establish consistent operating procedures.