Chapter 5.53


5.53.010    Purpose and intent.

5.53.020    Definitions.

5.53.030    Limitations on providing single-use food service ware.

5.53.040    Implementation.

5.53.050    Exemptions.

5.53.060    Enforcement.

5.53.070    Violations.

5.53.080    Severability.

5.53.090    No conflict with Federal or State law.

5.53.010 Purpose and intent.

(A)    Single-use accessories for food service are frequently provided to customers that do not need them, resulting in unnecessary waste that is costly for local government to manage and an unnecessary cost to food service operators. The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and protect the environment by reducing the use of single-use accessories commonly distributed with food and beverage purchases, such as straws, lids, stirrers, cutlery, napkins, and condiment packages in instances where such items are not requested by the consumer.

(B)    The County of Santa Cruz has an obligation to protect the environment, the economy, and public health. As of the date of adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter, the County has officially established a zero-waste goal, which is to be reached by waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting.

(C)    The County of Santa Cruz has been a pioneer in the reduction of litter and pollution, being among the first to adopt bans on plastic bags, Styrofoam, plastic straws, and single-use hospitality bottles. This ordinance is intended to deepen the County’s existing commitment to the prevention of litter, the encouragement of sustainability, and the quality of our environment. [Ord. 5375 § 1, 2021].

5.53.020 Definitions.

Unless otherwise expressly stated, whenever used in this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below:

(A)    “County” or “County of Santa Cruz” means all that territory within the unincorporated area of the County of Santa Cruz, State of California.

(B)    “Director” or “Director of Public Works” means the Director of the Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works, or their designee.

(C)    “Food provider” means any business, organization, entity, person, group, or individual located in the County that sells food or beverages to the public.

(D)    “Person” means an individual, trust, firm, joint stock company, corporation including a government corporation, partnership, or association.

(E)    “Online food ordering platform” means the digital technology provided on a website or mobile application through which a consumer can place an order for pick-up or delivery of food or beverages. Such platforms include those operated directly by food providers, by companies that provide delivery of food or beverages to consumers, and by online food and beverage ordering systems that connect consumers to food providers directly.

(F)    “Single-use” means designed to be used once and then discarded, and not designed for repeated use and sanitizing.

(G)    “Single-use food service ware accessory” means all types of single-use items provided with food or beverages sold or delivered in single-use plates, containers, or cups, including but not limited to utensils, chopsticks, napkins, condiment cups and packets, straws, stirrers, splash sticks, and cocktail sticks. [Ord. 5375 § 1, 2021].

5.53.030 Limitations on providing single-use food service ware.

(A)    Online food ordering platforms that accept orders for food or beverages for pickup by or delivery to customers in the County are required to provide a method on the ordering platform that enables customers to choose which, if any, single-use food service ware accessories to include with each order. The method must allow food providers to customize the list of available accessories to suit the business needs of the food provider.

(B)    Food providers may only provide single-use food service ware accessories to consumers upon specific request, or via a self-serve station. Notwithstanding this regulation, for delivery orders, food providers may choose to include specific accessories such as cup lids, spill plugs, and trays, in order to prevent spills and deliver food and beverages safely, regardless of whether the consumer selects those options. [Ord. 5375 § 1, 2021].

5.53.040 Implementation.

(A)    The regulations in this chapter will take effect as of March 1, 2022.

(B)    No less than 90 days before this chapter takes effect, the Director shall mail or deliver a copy of it to affected businesses within the County. [Ord. 5375 § 1, 2021].

5.53.050 Exemptions.

(A)    The Director may exempt an affected business or person from the requirements set forth in this chapter upon the affected business or person showing, in writing, that this chapter would create an undue hardship or practical difficulty not generally applicable to other businesses or persons in similar circumstances. Exemptions may be permanent or for a limited period, at the Director’s discretion.

(B)    An exemption application shall include all information necessary for the Director to make a decision, including but not limited to documentation showing factual support for the claimed exemption.

(C)    The Director may approve the exemption application in whole or in part, with or without conditions.

(D)    The decision of the Director shall be final and may not be appealed to any other person or body. [Ord. 5375 § 1, 2021].

5.53.060 Enforcement.

Enforcement of this chapter shall be as follows:

(A)    The Director shall have primary responsibility for enforcement of this chapter and shall have authority to issue citations for violation of this chapter. The Director is authorized to establish regulations or administrative procedures to ensure compliance with this chapter.

(B)    A person or entity violating or failing to comply with any of the requirements of this chapter shall be guilty of an infraction.

(C)    The County of Santa Cruz may seek legal, injunctive, or any other relief to enforce the provisions of this chapter and any regulation or administrative procedure authorized by it.

(D)    The remedies and penalties provided in this chapter are cumulative and not exclusive of one another.

(E)    The Director may inspect any business establishment’s premises to verify compliance with this chapter. [Ord. 5375 § 1, 2021].

5.53.070 Violations.

Violations of this chapter shall be enforced as follows:

(A)    Violation of this chapter is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. Any violation shall be subject to abatement by the County of Santa Cruz, as well as any other remedies that may be permitted by law for public nuisances, and may be enforced by injunction, upon a showing of violation.

(B)    Upon a first violation, the Director shall mail a written warning. The warning shall recite the violation and advise that future violations may result in fines.

(C)    Upon a second or subsequent violation, or failure to correct the initial violation, the following penalties will apply:

(1)    A fine not exceeding $100.00 for the first violation that occurs 30 days or more after the first warning.

(2)    A fine not exceeding $200.00 for the second violation, or failure to correct the initial violation, that occurs 60 days or more after the first warning.

(3)    A fine not exceeding $500.00 for the third violation, or failure to correct the initial violation, that occurs 90 days or more after the first warning.

(4)    A fine not exceeding $500.00 for every 30-day period not in compliance that occurs 90 days or more after the first warning.

(D)    Remedies and fines under this section are cumulative. [Ord. 5375 § 1, 2021].

5.53.080 Severability.

If any word, phrase, sentence, part, section, subsection, or other portion of this chapter, or any application thereof to any person or circumstance, is declared void, unconstitutional, or invalid for any reason, then such word, phrase, sentence, part, section, subsection, or other portion, or the proscribed application thereof, shall be severable, and the remaining provisions of this chapter, and all applications thereof, not having been declared void, unconstitutional or invalid, shall remain in full force and effect. The County of Santa Cruz hereby declares that it would have passed this title, and each section, subsection, sentence, clause, and phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, or phrases had been declared invalid or unconstitutional. [Ord. 5375 § 1, 2021].

5.53.090 No conflict with Federal or State law.

Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted or applied so as to create any requirement, power, or duty in conflict with any Federal or State law. [Ord. 5375 § 1, 2021].