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California Considering Banning Single-Use Plastic Cups At Fast Food Chains

California Considering Banning Single-Use Plastic Cups At Fast Food Chains

California is considering prohibiting single-use cups at chain restaurants for dine-in customers, expanding on its plastic straw ban, requiring phase-out of virgin plastic use, and planning to abolish plastic retail bags.

SB 1167, proposed by State Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, mandates that chain restaurants must offer dine-in customers reusable drinking containers such as durable cups, mugs, or glasses for hot or cold beverages that are washed and reused by the establishment.

Chain restaurants are establishments with 60 or more locations.

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The bill defines reusable drinking vessels as those cleaned and reused by the restaurant to prevent businesses from providing thicker cups that customers could potentially reuse but would likely be discarded, leading to increased plastic waste.

Following California’s prohibition on thin, single-use plastic shopping bags, merchants began offering sturdier bags to customers for a fee of 10 cents. These bags were seldom reused and usually discarded, causing the amount of plastic garbage from supermarkets and retail stores in the state to increase from eight pounds per person in 2004 to 11 pounds per person in 2021.

To address this issue, legislators have suggested a prohibition on plastic retail bags and mandated that retail bags must be crafted from 100% recycled paper.

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In 2018, the state prohibited the use of plastic single-use straws at pubs and restaurants unless specifically asked for by the consumer. California implemented a new rule in 2022 mandating that all packaging must be recyclable or compostable, reducing plastic packaging content by 25%, and ensuring that 65% of single-use plastic packaging is created from recycled plastic by 2032.

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