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Waste Reduction Regulations Ordinance


Waste Reduction Regulations Ordinance

The Goal: Reduce Single-Use.

Many single-use plastic and paper cups, cutlery, 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 adoption 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. 

AB 1276 Information

Key dates and provision 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 foodware utensils, straws, or standard condiments to customers dining on-site unless requested. (This joins other existing state “upon request” policies, such as 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 foodware.

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 foodware for take-out:

Effective January 1, 2026, the ordinance prohibits food service businesses from using non-recyclable and/or non-compostable foodware. Businesses will be required to provide recyclable and/or compostable poly and perfluoroalkyl (PFAS) free substance foodware 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 foodware for dine-in:

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

Send questions to [email protected].

On January 30, 2024, the Burbank City Council voted unanimously to pass the Waste Reduction Regulations Ordinance. This Ordinance updates Title 4, Chapter 2, of the Burbank Municipal Code (“BMC”) by adding Article 4 to the BMC. The intent of the policy is to add additional regulations related to food-related items to strengthen waste reduction efforts within the City, demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability and further protects health, safety, and welfare of the public and the City.

Enforcement will be phased in to allow businesses time to successfully transition to new practices and alternative products. The first form of enforcement will include a written notice of non-compliance and give businesses 60 days to correct the issues prior to issuance of any administrative citations. Check back for updates.

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

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.

EXISTING LAWS

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. 

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

View details regarding the regulation of "upon request" single-use foodware utensils and condiments.

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

Read about the Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Resonsibility Act establishing recyclable and compostable packaging 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.