Legislation was signed into law last year with the goal of reducing the number of single-use food ware accessories

CATHEDRAL CITY — Passing a law to reduce single-use food ware accessories and
condiments was likely a cake walk compared to the next phase: enforcement.

But that is what the City Council here is prepared to do. On Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 5:30 p.m., the City Council will consider adopting a resolution authorizing the city’s Code Compliance Division to serve as the enforcement agency for AB 1276 (Single-Use Food ware Accessories and Condiments) within the city.

The Code Compliance Division is a small department. It consists of the following:

  • Code Compliance Manager
  • 6 Code Compliance Officers (1 position is currently vacant)
  • Administrative Analyst I
  • Administrative Assistant II
  • Office Assistant

They all report to Robert Rodriguez, director of planning and building.

Staff recommends the City Council pass the resolution.

AB 1276 was signed into law on Oct. 5, 2021, with the goal of reducing the number of single-use food ware items and condiments in the waste stream. The bill went into effect Jan. 1, 2022 and prohibits food facilities from providing single-use food ware or condiments without the consumer’s request.

Additionally, it prohibits bundling or packaging of single-use accessories or condiment items in a way that prohibits the consumer from only taking the individual desired item. There are specific provisions for ready-to-eat-food offered at drive-throughs, public airports and third-party food delivery platforms. There are exclusions for correctional institutions, licensed health care facilities, residential care facilities, and public and private school cafeterias.

While the bill does not specify what entity should enforce this new law, cities are expected to provide this service and will receive of any fines from those who violate this new law. The state of California is not required to reimburse certain costs incurred by cities enforcing this new law.

Currently, the new law does not impose any fines from the State of California against cities that fail to enforce AB 1276.

The bill specifies that the first and second violations of the law result in a notice of violation, and any subsequent violation is an infraction punishable by a fine of $25 for each day in violation, but not to exceed an annual total of $300.

AB 1276 came into effect in California in 2022. It builds upon previous straw and plastic bag bans by prohibiting a food facility from providing any single use food ware accessory or standard condiment to a consumer unless requested by the consumer. The bill also:

  • Prohibits those items from being bundled or packaged in a way that prohibits the consumer from taking only the item desired.
  • Authorizes a food facility to ask a drive-through consumer, or a food facility located within a public airport to ask a walk-through consumer, if the consumer wants a single-use food ware accessory.
  • Requires a food facility using a third-party food delivery platform to list on its menu the availability of single use food ware accessories and standard condiments and only provide those items when requested.
  • Excludes from these requirements correctional institutions, health care facilities, residential care facilities, and public and private school cafeterias.

You can read the full AB 1276 text by accessing the following website.

The city is available to help businesses navigate this transition. If you have any questions or need educational materials, please contact Deanna Pressgrove, Environmental Conservation & Public Works Manager, at (760) 770.0369 or dpressgrove@cathedralcity.gov.

Learn more at: www.LessisMore.org/AB1276

Image Sources

  • Single-Use Food Ware: Shutterstock