At the town council meeting on February 11, 2020, Keep Truckee Green staff were instructed to create a working group to move forward with single-use foodware reduction policies. After delays caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Keep Truckee Green opened applications for the working group in October of 2021. The working group, which consists of stakeholders representing restaurants, environmental advocates, and members of the public, among others, will have the first of six meetings on January 4, 2022 to develop a Single-Use Foodware Reduction Ordinance and implementation plan. Meetings will occur once every four-weeks. Agendas and other information will be kept up-to date on the town calendar at https://www.townoftruckee.com/living/event-calendar.
Back in February of 2020, after careful consideration of the complexities of the recycling options, studying best practices from other communities, a business workshop on August 5th, 2019 which had 14 attendees, and a public workshop on October 29th, 2019 which had over 65 attendees, staff drafted the following policy recommendations for a Single-Use Foodware Reduction Ordinance:
- Provide single-use straws, utensils, and accessory items upon request only.
- Provide only reusable foodware items for in-house dining. Exceptions would need to be made for restaurants without dishwashers.
- Require restaurants to charge a fee on cups, utensils or accessory items. Studies show that the most effective fee price to drive behavior change is 25 cents.
Since then, California has passed several state laws which address single-use foodware accessories. One such law, AB 1276 approved on October 05, 2021, requires that restaurants only provide single-use foodware accessories upon request of the customer. As a component of developing an implementation strategy for the Single-Use Foodware Reduction Ordinance, the working group will also help develop the implementation strategy for AB 1276.
The Town is working to address the pervasiveness of single-use foodware, because it is a significant source of waste. In 2017, the United States generated 267 million tons of waste. Of that, an estimated 1.1 million tons was single-use foodware.1 By exploring the full-spectrum of ways to encourage the use of reusable foodware accessories, Keep Truckee Green staff and the Single-Use Foodware Reduction Working Group members are taking important steps to reduce waste from the source.
Overall, the working group will be responsible for evaluating and providing feedback on:
- Policies for the draft ordinance to be brought to Town Council in Spring 2022
- An implementation plan for the ordinance (including timelines and phased approaches for ordinance rollout)
- Methods for contacting and conducting outreach to relevant stakeholders
Making full use of local expertise and enthusiasm, the development of a Single-Use Foodware Reduction Ordinance is an important step in maintaining Truckee’s position as a leader in environmental sustainability. As jurisdictions across the State of California are updating their policies and regulations to comply with new state laws, the Town of Truckee is excited to continue to go above and beyond to reduce waste.