Single-use disposable serviceware is an ordinary part of any takeout, delivery, or casual dining experience today – yet it generates an immense amount of garbage that often ends up as litter in the environment or contaminating recycling systems. Washington has a new state law aimed at reducing plastic waste and litter, and one component of this legislation specifically targets single-use food serviceware.
Starting January 1, 2022, businesses in Washington will no longer automatically include single-use serviceware with food or beverage orders. They will also discontinue providing multiple single-use items in packaged bundles, such as fork, knife, and napkin wrapped in plastic film. Restaurant customers must confirm that they want these items included with their order. Businesses may also provide single-use items in a self-serve station where customers can choose what they need.
What items are included in the single-use disposable serviceware law?
The single-use food and beverage items included in the new single-use serviceware law are:
Why a focus on single-use serviceware?Single-use serviceware items, often made of plastic, pollute the environment and are made up of substances that can be harmful to humans. They are a major contaminant in Washington's recycling system that decreases the value of recycled materials. There are financial, social, and environmental benefits to refusing single-use items when not needed, using reusable items when possible, and disposing of single-use items properly. The new plastics legislation is meant to promote these activities.