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Plastic straw and utensil ban

10 Things You Need to Know about Straws, Plastic Utensils, Food Packaging and Composting in Seattle

1. As of July 1, 2018, foodservice businesses in Seattle are prohibited from using disposable plastic straws, spoons, forks, knives and cocktail picks.

2. As of July 1, 2018, straws, disposable utensils and cocktail picks must be approved compostable by the city of Seattle.

3. If you are unable to use up your existing supply of non-compostable straws or disposable utensils by July 1, you can contact SPU at 206-343-8505 to set up a compliance schedule.

4. Small portion cups and lids continue to have a temporary exemption from the city’s food service ware ordinance. Exemptions are reviewed annually.

5. Disposable food packaging used for dine-in service must be approved compostable and take-out packaging must be either approved compostable or recyclable.

6. Seattle composting facilities will only accept approved compostable products. Check the approved products list on the Cedar Grove Composting or Lenz Composting websites.

7. “Biodegradable” does not necessarily mean approved compostable in Seattle. Many designed to be biodegradable in a landfill are not acceptable in Seattle. Be sure the products you buy are approved.

8. If customers discard single-use packaging onsite at a collection station, foodservice businesses must have clearly labeled bins for recyclable and compostable packaging.

9. If customers discard single-use packaging onsite, foodservice must sign up for composting and recycling service offered by a collection service provider.

10. Although the city is initially focusing on education and outreach to enforce the new plastic straw and utensil ban, failure to comply with the foodservice ware ordinance may result in a $250 fine.


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