County Administrator's Office
For Immediate Release

Board of Supervisors adopts ordinance to restrict sale and use of polystyrene foam products in Sonoma County

Santa Rosa, CA  –  September 28, 2021  –  The County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors today adopted an ordinance prohibiting the sale and use of disposable food service containers and other products containing polystyrene foam, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The Board’s unanimous decision aligns with the Climate Action and Resiliency pillar of the Sonoma County Strategic Plan by minimizing the consequences of toxic materials escaping into the environment and waterways and prioritizing more environmentally friendly alternatives.

The ordinance was introduced during the Aug. 24 regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors as part of a Zero Waste Resolution to promote waste reduction, recovery and reuse. The new ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

“It is past time to get non-compostable and non-recyclable single-use Styrofoam products out of our waste stream in Sonoma County,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “While this ordinance benefits all residents of Sonoma County, we also understand that some businesses and individuals may be significantly impacted. That’s why we’re expecting a robust education campaign in partnership with stakeholders to ensure that information and resources are widely shared, especially with residents most in need.”

Zero Waste Sonoma, in coordination with the Sonoma County Department of Transportation and Public Works, will conduct community engagement in English and Spanish to identify entities that need to comply with the policy, ensure wide coverage and understanding of the ordinance, as well as provide technical support to businesses and restaurants that may need assistance procuring environmentally friendly products. Outreach is expected to include meetings with area Chambers of Commerce, meetings with multiple jurisdiction climate groups and community stakeholder groups, sending informational letters to those affected by the ordinance, creating implementation plans for jurisdictions and fielding questions from businesses, and advertising on radio and social media.

“Today marks the culmination of tireless effort over many years to encourage on a voluntary basis the elimination of all Styrofoam packaging in Sonoma County,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin who represents Sonoma County on the board of directors of Zero Waste Sonoma, the county's waste management agency. “Now we have a framework for education and compliance that will maximize the operating life of our landfills, reduce the economic and environmental costs of waste management for businesses and residents, and protect public health while being good stewards of our waterways and wildlife.”

Sonoma County’s existing ordinance that bans the use of polystyrene food packaging products on county-owned or leased property will be merged into this more comprehensive update. The new policy is based on the model polystyrene waste-reduction ordinance approved by Zero Waste Sonoma in February. The ban includes certain retail sales such as certain coolers, ice chests, pool toys, beach toys, packing peanuts and other packaging materials in addition to food service products. 

Sonoma County joins the cities of Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Windsor, Santa Rosa and Sonoma, which have approved similar ordinances on polystyrene foam products.

Members of the public may view related Board materials

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Dan Virkstis

County Administrator's Office

County of Sonoma
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Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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