Food Service Ware Ordinance

Food Service Ware Ordinance

The City of San Leandro's Polystyrene Foam Food Service Ware Ordinance went into effect on November 1, 2012. The Ordinance requires City departments and local food No Foam Takeout Containersestablishments discontinue the use of polystyrene foam food service ware products. Polystyrene foam food service ware products include cups, bowls, plates, clamshell containers, soup containers and trays made from expanded foam polystyrene typically labeled #6.

The Ordinance does not prohibit the use of rigid plastic products including disposable utensils, drink lids, other non-foam lids, straws, and condiment containers. It also does not prohibit the use of foam trays used for packaging raw foods sold by markets and grocery stores.

No Biodegradable PlasticFood establishments should refrain from purchasing plastic food service ware products labeled “biodegradable” or “compostable” often labeled #7 because these items are neither recyclable nor compostable in the City of San Leandro’s curbside collection program. Alternatives to foam food service ware include paper, aluminum, and recyclable plastic.


The City relies on notifications from the public to enforce the ordinance. If you are aware of a restaurant that is distributing polystyrene foam food service ware, please fill out the form below.

Food establishments that are not in compliance are given a warning notice before fines are imposed. The fines can escalate from $150 to a maximum of $600 per violation per Section 1-12-4 of the San Leandro Municipal Code.

Why Is Compliance Important?

The City is required by state law to reduce waste to landfill. Restaurants generate significant waste (on a per employee basis) and polystyrene food service ware isFoam Cup in Creek neither recyclable nor compostable.

Polystyrene foam is a threat to natural ecosystems due to its tendency to break into smaller pieces that wildlife species can mistake for food and ingest. In addition, polystyrene foam contains styrene, a possible carcinogen and neurotoxin that can leach into food and drink posing a human health risk.

The ordinance helps improve our quality of life, the natural environment, our local waterways and wildlife. It also helps advance the City’s goal to divert 75% waste from landfill and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2005 levels by 2020.

Additional Resources

StopWaste Green Purchasing

Green Town Cooperative Purchasing

Alameda County Green Business Program



Polystyrene Noncompliance Reporting Form
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