Watsonville Waste Reduction Ordinance

On July 8, 2019, Watsonville City Council approved the Single-Use Foodware, Environmentally Acceptable Packaging and Products, and Waste Reduction Ordinance (Municipal Code Section 6-6.100). This ordinance prohibits single-use disposable plastics in the food service industry, requiring compostable and refillable options instead. 

Discarded single-use plastic products, such as cups, lids, utensils, straws, and clamshells constitute a significant portion of the City’s waste stream. This ordinance is a vital component in the City’s efforts and mandates for reducing waste and litter for a cleaner and safer environment for generations to come, and it is consistent with the City’s Climate Action Plan and the State’s CalRecycle recycling and waste disposal regulations. To view the full ordinance click here.

Compostable products are the most responsible and sustainable choice for City’s residents and the environment. Compostable food service products have become increasingly available locally. Click here to find certified compostable foodware suppliers and products. 

The Watsonville Single Use Foodware and Waste Reduction Ordinance applies to all food service providers, City facilities, City contractors, and special event participants.

Due to the pandemic, implementation dates were extended. This will give businesses time and flexibility to successfully transition.

Beach Polysterene
Banned materials
BPI compost logo


Effective: August 8, 2019

▶ Prohibited sales and use of plastic foam (Styrofoam) products. This includes all
food service ware products, as well as coolers, containers, ice chests, shipping boxes, pool or beach toys, packing peanuts, or other packaging materials.

Effective: January 1, 2020 

▶ Prohibited use and distribution of straws, unless specifically requested.
No straws provided shall be wrapped in plastic.

Effective: January 1, 2022 

▶ Required $0.10 customer charge for single-use cups to encourage the use of reusable cups and bottles. Customers with EBT and WIC cards are exempt from the charge.
▶ Charges for single-use cups shall be clearly identified pre-sale for the customer on any ordering platforms and identified separately on any post-sale receipt.
The $0.10 customer disposable cup charge goes directly back to the business.

Effective: January 1, 2022

▶ All disposable food-service ware (take-out & dine-in) is required to be compostable and clearly labeled with the BPI compostable logo (as defined by ASTM standards).
▶ Self-bussing food service vendors must provide three color-coded bins clearly labeled for food scraps (green), recyclables (blue), and garbage


▶ Compostable food-service-ware should be dispose of in the garbage (never in the recycling bin).

▶ For a list of compostable products and manufacturers click here.

▶For a list of local vendors, providing certified compostable foodware click here.


▶ For questions contact Public Works & Utilities at 768-3131.

The City of Watsonville is committed to supporting businesses with these upcoming changes. Our team is readily available to answer your questions, provide clarification, and offer ongoing support. We thank your business for your cooperation with this information.

On July 8, 2019, Watsonville City Council also approved the Hospitality Plastic Pollution Reduction Ordinance No. 1390-19 (CM)

Hospitality Plastic Pollution Reduction Ordinance No. 1390-19 (CM)
Effective: January 1, 2020

Prohibited use or distribution of small (less than 12 ounces) plastic bottles of personal care products, unless specifically requested for disability or other special needs.

▶ Required use of bulk dispensers for personal care products. To see the full ordinance click here.