Watsonville Waste Reduction Ordinance

On July 8, 2019, Watsonville City Council approved the Single-Use Foodware, Environmentally Acceptable Packaging and Products, and Waste Reduction Ordinance (Municipal Code Section 6-6.100). This ordinance prohibits single-use disposable plastics in the foodservice industry and requires compostable and refillable options instead. 

Discarded single-use plastic products, such as cups, lids, utensils, straws, and clamshells constitute a significant portion of the City’s waste stream. This ordinance is a vital component in the City’s efforts and mandates to reduce waste and litter for a cleaner and safer environment for generations to come and is consistent with the City’s Climate Action Plan and the State’s CalRecycle recycling and waste disposal regulations. To view the full ordinance click here.

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 Ordinance applies to all food service providers, City facilities, City contractors, and special event participants.

Due to the pandemic, implementation dates were extended in 2020 to give businesses time and flexibility to successfully transition.

Beach Polysterene
Banned materials
BPI compost logo
  • On July 8, 2019, Watsonville City Council also approved the Hospitality Plastic Pollution Reduction Ordinance No. 1390-19 (CM)


Effective: January 1, 2022

  • Full-service restaurants are prohibited from providing single-use plastic straws to consumers unless requested, to any single-use foodware utensils or standard condiment unless requested by the consumer. (AB 1276)
  • Businesses are required to charge customers $0.10 for single-use cups to encourage the use of reusable cups and bottles. Customers with EBT and WIC cards are exempt from the charge.
  • Charges for single-use cups shall be clearly identified pre-sale for the customer on any ordering platforms and identified separately on any post-sale receipt.
  • Businesses are to keep the $0.10 customer disposable cup fees.
  • All disposable food-service ware (take-out & dine-in) is required to be compostable and clearly labeled with the BPI compostable logo (as defined by ASTM standards).
  • Self-bussing food service vendors must provide three color-coded bins clearly labeled for food scraps (green), recyclables (blue), and garbage

Effective: January 1, 2020

  • The use and distribution of straws is prohibited, unless specifically requested.
  • No straws provided shall be wrapped in plastic.
  • The use or distribution of small plastic bottles (fewer than 12oz) of personal care products is prohibited unless specifically requested for disability or other special needs.
  • The use of bulk dispensers for personal care products is required.

Effective: August 8, 2019

  • The sale and use of plastic foam (Styrofoam) products including all food service ware products, coolers, containers, ice chests, shipping boxes, pool or beach toys, packing peanuts, or other packaging materials is prohibited.

Effective: 2012

  • Businesses shall charge $.25 per single-use plastic bag or 40% recycled paper bag to encourage the use of reusable bags (municipal code sec. 6-7)

The City of Watsonville is committed to supporting businesses with these upcoming changes. 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.