Chapter 11.98


11.98.010    Purpose and findings.

11.98.020    Definitions.

11.98.030    Ban on single-use plastics and plastic bags and charge for paper carryout bags.

11.98.035    Ban on single-use disposable food service ware.

11.98.040    Ban on single-use amenities by lodging providers.

11.98.045    Implementation.

11.98.050    Enforcement.

11.98.055    Exemptions.

11.98.010 Purpose and findings.

(a) It is the intent of the city of Pacific Grove in enacting this chapter to eliminate the use of single-use plastics, to encourage the use of reusable or compostable products by consumers, food and lodging providers, and retail establishments, and to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics in general.

(b) By promoting compostable materials and reusable products, the city positions itself to meet state mandated waste diversion targets.

(c) Single-use disposable packaging and food ware (SUDs) are a major contributor to street litter, ocean pollution, marine and other wildlife harm, and greenhouse gas emissions.

(d) Plastics in waterways and oceans break down into smaller pieces known as microplastics, which are not biodegradable and are present in most of the world’s oceans.

(e) Among other hazards, plastic debris attracts and concentrates ambient pollutants in seawater and freshwater, which can transfer to fish, other seafood and salt that are eventually sold for human consumption.

(f) The city finds that the addition of this chapter to the municipal code qualifies as a regulation for the protection of natural resources and the environment as defined by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). [Ord. 19-016 § 2, 2019; Ord. 14-015 § 2, 2014].

11.98.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

“Affordable” means that a compostable product may cost up to 15 percent more than the purchase cost of the nonbiodegradable, noncompostable or nonrecyclable material.

“ASTM standard” means meeting the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials International Standards D6400, as may be amended.

“Biodegradable” means the ability of organic matter to break down from a complex to a simpler form through the action of bacteria or to undergo this process.

“BPI” means Biodegradable Product Institute.

“City contractor” means any person or entity that has a contract with the city for work or improvement to be performed, for a franchise, concession, for grant moneys, goods and services, or supplies to be purchased at the expense of the city.

“City facility” means any building, structure, street, park, open space, golf links, or vehicle owned and operated by the city, its agents, and departments.

“Compostable” means a material that meets BPI certified standards or undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield carbon dioxide (CO2), water, inorganic compounds, and biomass within a nominal time frame. Compostable food service ware must be clearly labeled compostable in accordance with California Public Resources Code Section 42357 et seq., as may be amended, and all state and federal labeling laws pertaining to the identification of compostable products.

“Disposable” means products intended for single or a limited number of uses, used in the restaurant, food service and retail industries.

“Exempted uses” means those points of sale or delivery sales that have received a special exemption through the city manager or designee.

“Food service provider” means any restaurant or vendor located or providing food within the city that provides prepared food for public consumption on or off its premises and includes without limitation any store, shop, sales outlet, restaurant, grocery store, super market, delicatessen, catering truck, special events vendor, or vehicle, or any other person who provides prepared food; and any organization, group or individual which regularly provides food as a part of its services.

“Food service ware” means products used by a food service provider or in the food service industry for serving or transporting prepared ready-to-consume food or beverages. This includes but is not limited to plastic plates, straws, cups, lids, bowls, utensils, stirrers, beverage plugs, trays and hinged or lidded containers. This does not include single-use packaging for unprepared foods.

“Lodging provider” means any hotel, motel, bed and breakfast inn, short-term rental, or any other establishment that provides overnight lodging.

“Person” means an individual, business, event promoter, special events vendor, trust, firm, joint stock company, corporation, nonprofit, including a government corporation, partnership, or association, and public or private school.

“PLA” (polylactic acid or polylactide) means a biodegradable and bioactive thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable biomass, typically from fermented plant starch such as from corn, cassava, sugarcane or sugar beet pulp.

“Plastic” means a material derived from either petroleum or a biologically based polymer, such as corn or other plant sources.

“Plastic bag” or “plastic carryout bag” means a single-use carryout bag of any size that is provided at point of sale to customers by a retail establishment or food provider. Plastic bags include noncompostable carryout bags. After December 31, 2020, this definition shall include “dry cleaning film bags.”

“Point of sale” means a physical or virtual place where sales transactions are made, typically a cash register, check stand or online shopping cart.

“Polystyrene foam” includes expanded polystyrene that is a thermoplastic petrochemical material utilizing a styrene monomer and processed by any number of techniques including, but not limited to, fusion of polymer spheres (expandable bead polystyrene), injection molding, form molding, and extrusion-blown molding (extruded foam polystyrene). This includes but is not limited to polystyrene foam plate, bleached paperboard plate with low density polyethylene coating and bleached paperboard plate with polystyrene coating.

“Prepared food” means food or beverage prepared for consumption on the food provider’s premises, or elsewhere, using any cooking or food preparation technique. This does not include any raw uncooked meat, fish or eggs unless provided for consumption without further food preparation. This does not include food prepared and packaged outside the city.

“Recyclable” means any material that is accepted by the city recycling program, including, but not limited to, paper, glass, aluminum, cardboard and plastic bottles, jars and tubs. Recyclable plastics comprise those plastics coded with the recycling symbols Nos. 1 through 5.

“Recycled paper bag” means a bag that contains no old growth fiber and is made up of 100 percent post-consumer recyclable materials, and has printed in a highly visible manner on the outside of the bag the words “100 percent Compostable.”

“Restaurant” is defined as a food provider doing business in the city whose principal business is the sale of prepared food for consumption either on or off premises, which includes a restaurant, cafe, bakery, food cart, take-out establishment, home kitchens, delicatessen, or catering truck.

“Retail establishment” or “retail store” means all sales outlets, stores, shops, vehicles, nonprofits, resale businesses or other places of business located within the city that operate primarily to sell or convey goods directly to the ultimate consumer.

“Reusable” means designed or intended for more than a single use or few uses, or intended for reuse, in contrast to disposable.

“Reusable bag” means any bag with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse, and is either: (1) made of cloth or other washable woven fabric; or (2) made of durable material that is at least 4.0 mils thick that can be cleaned or disinfected at least 125 times. A reusable bag may be made of recyclable plastic such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), or polypropylene.

“Single-use amenities” means plastic containers less than eight ounces in size that contain personal care products intended to be applied to or used on the human body in the shower, bath or any part thereof, and includes body wash, lotion or hair products provided by lodging providers.

“Single-use carryout bag” is defined as a bag, other than a reusable, recyclable bag, or compostable bag, provided at the point of sale for the purpose of transporting food or merchandise out of the establishment. Single-use carryout bags include bags, without handles, provided to the customer to (1) transport produce, bulk food or meat from a produce, bulk food or meat department within a store to the point of sale; (2) hold prescription medication dispensed from a pharmacy; or (3) segregate food or merchandise that could damage or contaminate other food or merchandise when placed together in a bag.

“Single-use plastics” means single-use carryout plastic bags or containers that are provided at the point of sale to customers. These typically include plates, cutlery, cups, lids, straws, “clamshells” and other containers, as well as products with plastic lining. This also includes single-use amenities.

“Special events promoter” means an applicant for any special events permit issued by the city or any city employee(s) responsible for any city-sponsored or organized special event.

“Straw” means a tube through which beverages, slurries, smoothies, and similar ingestible products may be ingested by the consumer.

“SUDs” means single-use disposable packing and food service ware. [Ord. 19-016 § 2, 2019; Ord. 14-015 § 2, 2014].

11.98.030 Ban on single-use plastics and plastic bags and charge for paper carryout bags.

(a) No retail establishment, dry cleaner, laundry service, food service provider, or lodging provider shall provide single-use plastics or plastic bags to customers at the point of sale, except as permitted in this chapter.

(b) No city contractors, special events promoters, or their vendors, while performing under contract or permit within the city limits, shall provide single-use plastics or plastic bags to customers at the point of sale.

(c) Paper carryout bags provided to customers shall contain a minimum of 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper fiber and must be certified compostable as defined in this chapter.

(d) Retail establishments shall charge a minimum 10-cent fee for each paper carryout bag provided to customers at the point of sale. Retail establishments shall keep annual records of paper bag distribution to be made available to the city manager or designee upon request. From time to time, the city may review the annual records of paper bag distribution to ensure the effectiveness of these regulations.

(e) The charge imposed pursuant to this chapter shall not be charged to customers participating in the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children, the State Department of Social Services food stamp program, or other government-subsidized purchase programs for low-income residents.

(f) Bags used to protect wet items or for carry-out protection must be made of BPI compliant materials. This includes bags to protect bottles, bags around meat, produce, ice cream or other wet items, bags to weigh candy, pharmacy bags, or bags to protect greeting cards.

(g) Retail establishments are strongly encouraged to make reusable bags available for sale to customers at a reasonable price.

(h) Retail establishments shall indicate on the customer transaction receipt the number of paper carryout bags provided, and the total amount charged.

(i) It shall be a policy of the city that retail establishments located outside the city shall not package any nonfood product in a container that utilizes polystyrene foam, both block polystyrene or packaging peanuts, or purchase, obtain, keep, distribute or sell for home or personal use, or give, or otherwise provide to customers any packaging that utilizes polystyrene foam. The city shall promote and require elimination of all SUD and polystyrene foam packaging. [Ord. 19-016 § 2, 2019; Ord. 14-015 § 2, 2014].

11.98.035 Ban on single-use disposable food service ware.

(a) All food service providers within the city shall provide reusable food service ware for dine-in customers.

(b) BPI certified compostable food service ware required for prepared food other than dine-in customers.

(1) All food service providers within the city shall use BPI certified compostable food service ware products for prepared food. This includes city contractors and special events promoters performing under a city contract or permit.

(2) No person may sell, offer for sale, or otherwise distribute within the city, and may not provide prepared food in any disposable food service ware that is not BPI certified compostable or that contains polystyrene foam. This includes city contractors in the performance of city contracts and special events promoters in the city.

(3) Food service providers may charge a take-out fee to cover the difference in cost from SUDs.

(c) Straws shall be provided only upon request. All SUD straws, including PLA/bioplastic, are prohibited. Exceptions shall only be made to the consumer self-identifying as a person with a disability, whereupon a plastic straw may be provided to the consumer.

(d) Foods prepared or packaged outside the city and sold within the city are exempt from the provisions of this chapter. Purveyors of food prepared or packaged outside the city are encouraged to follow the provisions of this chapter as it is a policy goal of this city to eliminate the use of single-use plastics and polystyrene foam for packaging prepared food.

(e) Penalties.

(1) The city, in accordance with applicable law, may inspect any food service provider’s premises to verify compliance with this chapter.

(2) Food service providers shall confirm compliance with this chapter on their annual business license renewal forms.

(3) Violations of this section shall be enforced as follows:

(A) For the first violation, the city manager or designee shall issue a written warning to the food provider specifying that a violation of this chapter has occurred and notifying the food provider of the appropriate penalties to be assessed in the event of future violations.

(B) The following penalties shall apply for subsequent violations of this chapter:

(i) A citation imposing a fine in the sum of $200.00 for the first violation that occurs more than 30 days after the warning issued pursuant to subsection (e)(3)(A) of this section. In lieu of payment, the person cited may submit receipts to the city manager that demonstrate the purchase, following the service of the citation, of at least $100.00 worth of BPI certified compostable products appropriate as an alternative to the disposable food service ware that led to the violation.

(ii) A fine in the sum of $400.00 for a violation that occurs after issuance of the citation referenced in subsection (e)(3)(B)(i) of this section.

(iii) A fine in the sum of $900.00 for the third and each subsequent violation which occurs after issuance of the citation referenced in subsection (e)(3)(B)(i) of this section.

(4) Food service providers who violate this chapter in connection with special events, defined in this chapter, shall be issued a citation imposing fines as follows:

(A) A fine of $200.00 for each violation associated with an event of one to 200 persons;

(B) A fine of $400.00 for each violation associated with an event of more than 200 but less than 400 persons;

(C) A fine of $600.00 for each violation associated with an event of more than 400 but less than 600 persons; and

(D) A fine of $1,000 for each violation associated with an event of more than 600 persons. [Ord. 19-016 § 2, 2019].

11.98.040 Ban on single-use amenities by lodging providers.

Single-use amenities are prohibited for distribution by lodging providers within the city except to persons specifically requesting accommodations for a disability or other special need. [Ord. 19-016 § 2, 2019].

11.98.045 Implementation.

The city shall make available a copy of this chapter, or a link to this chapter on the city’s website, to every new retail establishment, dry cleaner, laundry service, lodging provider or food provider that applies for a business license. [Ord. 19-016 § 2, 2019; Ord. 14-015 § 2, 2014. Formerly 11.98.040].

11.98.050 Enforcement.

(a) Beginning April 22, 2020, violations of this chapter may be enforced in accordance with Chapters 1.16 and 1.19 PGMC.

(b) Violation of this chapter will be considered a public nuisance. In addition to any other remedies or penalties that may be available, any violation described in subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to abatement by the city, as well as any other remedies that may be permitted by law for public nuisances, and may be enforced by an injunction issued by the superior court in a civil action, based upon a showing by the city that said violation exists.

(c) The city manager is authorized to establish regulations or administrative procedures to obtain compliance with this chapter. [Ord. 19-016 § 2, 2019; Ord. 14-015 § 2, 2014].

11.98.055 Exemptions.

(a) The city manager or designee may exempt a person from the requirements of this chapter for a period not to exceed 12 months per request upon a showing, in writing, that this chapter creates an undue hardship or practical difficulty not generally applicable to other persons in similar circumstances.

(b) The city manager shall confirm the decision to grant or deny each exemption in writing; the city manager decision shall be final.

(c) There shall be no exemptions to allow for the use of recyclable, biodegradable, or polystyrene foam disposable food service ware. [Ord. 19-016 § 2, 2019].