Watsonville Waste Reduction Ordinances

Local waste reduction ordinances and state mandates are vital components in the City’s efforts to reduce waste and litter for a cleaner and safer environment for generations to come. Discarded single-use plastic products, such as bags, cups, lids, utensils, straws, and clamshells constitute a significant portion of the City’s waste stream. These guidelines are consistent with the City’s Climate Action Plan and the State’s CalRecycle recycling and waste disposal regulations. Due to the pandemic, compostable foodware due dates were extended in 2020 to give businesses time and flexibility to successfully transition.

Compostable products are the most responsible and sustainable choice for City’s residents and the environment, and they have become increasingly available locally. Click here to find certified compostable foodware suppliers and products. 

The Watsonville Single Use Foodware and Waste Reduction Ordinances apply to all food service providers, City facilities, City contractors, hospitality businesses and special event vendors.

The City of Watsonville is committed to supporting businesses with waste reduction resources. Our team is readily available to answer your questions, provide clarification, and offer ongoing support. We thank your business for your cooperation with this information.


Watsonville Environmental Packaging Ordinances

Apply to all food providers, City facilities, City contractors, special event participants,

and hospitality businesses

BPI / Compostable Ordinance 1389-19, 2022

All disposable take-out & dine-in food-service ware must be compostable and clearly labeled with the BPI compostable logo. 

Single-Use Food Accessories and Standard Condiments by Request Only CA AB 1276, 2022 & Ordinance No. 1389-19, 2021
Full-service restaurants are prohibited from providing the following single-use items unless requested by customers:

  • Plastic straws, utensils, and standard condiment packets 
  • Straws provided must not be wrapped in plastic

Disposable Cup Fee Ordinance 1389-19, 2021 & AB 619

Businesses must follow these guidelines regarding disposable cups: 

  • Charge customers $0.10 per single-use cup. Customers with EBT and WIC shall be exempt from the charge. Businesses shall retain the $0.10 fees
  • Clearly identify fees pre and post-sale on any ordering platforms and receipts for customers.
  • Businesses may accept the use of clean reusable containers

Organics/Recycling CA AB 827, SB 1383, Ordinance 1428-22 2019, 2022

  • Self-bussing food-service vendors must provide three color-coded bins clearly labeled for food scraps (green), recyclables (blue), and garbage (black)
  • Food or plant waste generators must recycle and subscribe to organics collection

Foam Ban Ordinance No. 1389-19
The sale and use of plastic foam (Styrofoam) products is prohibited including:

  • all food-service ware products as well as coolers
  • containers
  • ice chests
  • shipping boxes
  • pool or beach toys
  • packing peanuts
  • other packaging materials 

Bag Fee Municipal code sec. 6-7, 2012
Businesses must charge $0.25 per single-use plastic bag.

  • Plastic bags must be thicker than 4mls.
  • Paper bags must contain more than 40% recycled content.
  • Take-out food or produce bags are exempt from this fee.
  • Customers with EBT and WIC shall be exempt from the charge.

Personal Care Products Ordinance No. 1390-19 Jan 2020

  • The use or distribution of small (under 12 ounces) plastic bottles of personal care products is prohibited unless specifically requested by customers for disability or other special needs
  • Hospitality industry businesses must use bulk dispensers for personal care products

General Reminders
Compostable food-service ware must be disposed of in garbage bins.

Contact: Tami Stolzenthaler, (831) 768-3131 tami.stolzenthaler@cityofwatsonville.org