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Posted on: September 4, 2019

Single Use Food Serviceware and Litter Reduction Ordinance Goes Into Effect on November 26th

The Gig Harbor City Council passed the Single Use Food Serviceware & Litter Reduction Ordinance on November 26, 2018. This ordinance goes into effect November 26, 2019. At that time all food service providers in Gig Harbor will be required to comply.

Effective November 26, 2019, the items listed below are no longer allowed to be given out by food service providers when serving or selling raw or cooked food, for consumption on or off the premises:

  • Non-recyclable plastic containers
  • Non-recyclable plastic clamshells
  • Non-recyclable plastic serving trays
  • Non-recyclable plastic vegetable trays
  • Non-recyclable plastic utensils
  • Any EPS (“Styrofoam”) products
  • Single-use plastic straws
  • Single-use plastic stirrers
  • Single-use plastic cocktail pics
  • Single-use plastic cutlery

Exceptions to the Ordinance include:

  • Disposable flexible plastic drinking straws are allowed when needed by customers due to medical or physical conditions and for whom flexible compostable paper straws are unsuitable.
  • Prepackaged food that food service providers provide to their customers in EPS (“Styrofoam”) containers that have been sealed prior to receipt by the food service businesses.

“Food Service Providers” are defined as any business selling or providing food for consumption on or off the premises, including:

  • full-service restaurants
  • fast food restaurants
  • cafes
  • delicatessens
  • coffee shops
  • grocery stores
  • vending trucks or carts
  • business or institutional cafeterias
  • food delivery services

Food service providers are encouraged to:

  1. Provide plant-based, durable, wood or recyclable food serviceware and utensils whenever possible;
  2. Provide plant-based, durable, wood or paper straws and single-use utensils only on request; and
  3. Utilize dispensers when providing durable or paper straws and recyclable single use utensils.

When providing recyclable food serviceware, food service providers must provide clearly marked containers where customers may discard recyclable items. Food service providers must provide for the collection and delivery of these materials to appropriate processing facilities.

A Serviceware Ordinance Flyer has been created to provide to businesses and customers who may be affected by this new ordinance.

For more details, please see Gig Harbor Municipal Code Chapter 5.15 or contact Assistant City Clerk Josh Stecker at 253-853-7638 or

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