One trillion disposable food service items used annually in U.S.
Takeout, delivery, and casual dining typically come with single-use disposable serviceware often made of plastic. These knives, forks, spoons, cocktail picks, chopsticks, stirrers, condiment packets, beverage cup lids, and straws quickly add up. In fact, we use nearly one trillion disposable food service products each year in the United States.
To address the cost of this waste, beginning in 2022 customers will have to verbally confirm that they want single-use items, or they must select items from self-service bins instead of having them automatically included with a food order. Single-use food and drink items included in this new law include plastic utensils, straws, condiment packages, and cup lids for cold beverages.
Excessive use of these items comes at great cost
Dependence on single-use items comes with numerous direct and indirect costs:
- Environmental costs from natural resource extraction, climate impacts, and plastic pollution
- Business costs to purchase and dispose of these items
- Taxpayer costs in solid waste management and litter clean-up
- Potential human health costs associated with PFAS, micro-plastics, and other harmful substances in single-use items
- Lost opportunity costs when we don’t create more sustainable ways to meet our needs without using something only once
Education and outreach toolkit
We will create an education and outreach toolkit to inform both business owners and the public of the new requirements. We’ll design these educational resources for accessibility and translate them into the 17 most common languages in Washington.
Once the law is in place, we will follow up on complaints by providing outreach and assistance to the business. Repeated non-compliance may result in fines. Anyone will be able to submit an observation of non-compliance using a complaint form on this website.