Palm Springs, CA

In July 2021, the City of Palm Springs passed a new ordinance to promote reusable food ware and reduce waste from single-use plastics that takes effect this month. The City conducted outreach to businesses this fall and is in the process of providing direct technical assistance to all interested food vendors.

The new ordinance affects “prepared food vendors” that range from coffee shops and food-vending convenience stores to formal, sit-down restaurants. It includes provisions for on-site dining as well as takeout food. The ordinance also bans the sale and use of food ware and accessories that contain polystyrene.

Some of the key provisions that everyone should be aware of include:

• A broad ban on the sale and use of polystyrene food ware – in foam and rigid forms.
• A requirement that reusable food ware (plates, dishes, cups) and accessories (utensils) be used for on-site dining.
• A ban on plastic straws and stirrers.
• A requirement that disposable food ware accessories such as utensils, straws, and stirrers be available only on request or in a self-service area to minimize distribution of unwanted items.
• A ban on the use of single-use plastic bags for takeout orders.

“The City of Palm Springs is excited to work with our local businesses to implement this new policy and advance environmental protection,” said Flinn Fagg, Director of Development Services. “With that in mind, the City is offering sustainability scholarships for businesses to help them comply – and we understand that compliance with some provisions may take time.”

Businesses should apply for exceptions where necessary and provide the City with a compliance plan for items that may not meet the deadlines.

Residents should prepare for these changes by:
• Saying no to any unwanted accessories when provided automatically.
• Bringing their own bags if they are ordering food for pickup or when they expect they might have leftovers to take home.
• Remembering to request accessories and condiments only when needed for takeout or for home delivery.

More information is available on the City’s Sustainability Web page at www.yoursustainablecity.com

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