Marin Cities Reject Reusable Packaging Mandates

tupperware_sandwich_keeper_squareOn May 26 the Marin County Single Use Plastic Advisory Committee (SUPAC) finalized their recommendations on carryout bag and food packaging regulations. The purpose of this committee is to provide policy recommendations to six Marin County cities in order to create regional consistency. The SUPAC is made up of the cities of Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon.

The committee started with the premise to ban plastic bags and polystyrene food packaging with the intent to add additional regulations on top of those mandates. Several Statewide and Bay Area based environmental groups brought options for regulation to the discussion. Their proposals would mandate food retailers use food packaging brought in by customers (e.g. Tupperware), mandating use of beverage containers brought in by customers, and fees on non-durable takeout food containers.

CGA led a coalition of business interests who vigorously opposed the proposals based on threats to food safety, operational challenges, and financial impact. In order to maintain food safety under these mandates grocery stores would be forced to make significant physical and operational changes, which would have cost several thousands of dollars annually to continue to provide food items prepared in-store. Ultimately representatives of the six cities rejected the proposals.

The SUPAC recommendation will include a single-use bag ordinance similar to the already passed Marin County ordinance consistent with CGA policy. It will also recommend a ban on the use of polystyrene foam food packaging for food packaged in-store with exemptions for raw meats, poultry, and fish which has minimal impact on grocery stores.