Let’s get Redwood City to ride the wave of sustainability! The proposed Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance will help reduce single-use plastics in favor of more sustainable options. Join the San Mateo County Chapter of Surfrider Foundation in supporting this effort to reduce plastic pollution in Redwood City and San Mateo County!

The San Mateo County Office of Sustainability’s Disposable Food Service Ware Policy with an amendment to include reusables for onsite dining requires restaurants to:

  • Convert to compostable items.
  • Adopt reusable food service ware for onsite dining. When you sit at a restaurant to eat, your meal comes in reusable plates, bowls, cups and utensils instead of single-use disposable ones.
  • Provide accessories only upon request. This includes disposable straws, utensils, stirrers, napkins, and condiment packets both for in-person and onine take-out food delivery.

What’s the climate impact? 

Currently, approximately 60% of Redwood City’s restaurants exclusively serve on disposable food service ware or on a mix of reusables and disposables for onsite dining.

Comparing compostable with reusable food service ware, CO2 emission estimates (per day) equivalent miles produced by an average car, assuming that each restaurant uses 100 compostable plates and 100 cold cups per day for onsite dining.

What’s the business impact?

You may be asking, will there be increases in costs for food businesses? The combined two policies incur a total annual cost to Redwood City restaurants of $226,000, whereas the total cost savings is $543,000, because Dine-In Reusables save $743,000, offsetting increased cost of compostables. The Office of Sustainability and ReThink Disposable are also offering mini grants to Redwood City restaurants to cover the costs of purchasing reusable foodware for onsite dining. 

The combined policies demonstrate financial and environmental savings

Major Takeaways

SMC Disposable Foodware and Dine-In Reuse Policies save Redwood City restaurants a total of $543,000. Three of four sectors – Fast Food, Café/Bakery/Snacks, and Full Service save money overall. Dine-In Reusables significantly saves money, at $743,000. Accessories Upon Request & Dine-In cuts cost and wastes dramatically. Join the other cities in San Mateo County who have already adopted the Ordinance – let’s all lead the way towards more sustainable solutions!