On April 14, 2009, the City of Watsonville joined the many cities throughout  the State of California in adopting Ordinance #1245-09 (Municipal Code Chapter 6.6) to require the use of recyclable, biodegradable or compostable take-out food service ware at retail food establishments within the City limits.

All businesses serving prepared food are REQUIRED to comply with Watsonville Municipal Code 6-6.102, which prohibits the use of Styrofoam food service ware including cups, plates, bowls and clamshells for serving take-out food in the City of Watsonville.

All restaurants, cafeterias, catering businesses and special events are no longer allowed to use Styrofoam (also known as expanded polystyrene) for serving take-out food.

Why the Ordinance?

The purpose of the ordinance is to reduce litter and encourage the use of products that can be recycled or that decompose when landfilled. Styrofoam was banned because it is not locally recyclable and does not decompose in the landfill. Styrofoam is lightweight and often becomes litter. It can travel via wind or through storm drains into our wetlands, creeks, the Pajaro River and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Styrofoam breaks into small pieces that are mistaken for food by birds, fish and other animals, causing illness and death.

Many Watsonville businesses discontinued the use of Styrofoam even before the ban went into effect due to pressure from customers who are demanding more environmentally-friendly food packaging.

Alternative Materials & Resources

  • PAPER: plates, bowls, cups, etc.
  • PLASTIC: any non-Styrofoam plastic material is allowed
  • CORN STARCH-BASED and other decomposable products
256 Kearney Street
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 750-0743 or
(831) 724-7243
220 Sylvania Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 469-0961
1047 17th Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(831) 462-4400

 You can view the entire Municipal Code here. Under search type in Styrofoam. You can download the flyer below here.


Paper-based wrappers/containers, biodegradable containers

and any recyclable plastic containers.