Cup Fee Repeal Headlines Business Waste Reduction Changes at August 8 Council Business Meeting

UPDATE 09/12/23: Council unanimously voted to approve the proposed changes and updates to the Waste Reduction Ordinance – effective 09/27/23 – so the cup fee is officially repealed…

UPDATE 08/09/23 – Council voted unanimously at the August 8th meeting to move the proposed ordinance updates onto the September 12 agenda for a formal approval vote.

The wheels turned s-l-o-w-l-y at the City, but a draft revised version of the Waste Reduction ordinance (including a cup fee repeal) was just published on Friday by the city, as part of the agenda for the Council’s Regular Business Meeting scheduled for Tuesday Night (08/08/23) at 6pm.

It has been the Chamber’s honor to work with business owners, partner organizations (led by the Downtown Association and Visit Bainbridge Island), city staff, and a councilmember ad hoc committee to help bring our community together through the ongoing Business Ambassador program, and to work with everyone to bring about significant change to the original ordinance. The Chamber is pleased to note that the text is substantively as expected (yay!) and to our eyes, the primary points of interest are that the proposed updates:

  • Cup Fee Repeal removes the mandatory 25c fee on all take-out cups entirely
  • Allows cups to be left out for customers (so that they do not need to be asked for, or stored behind the register)
  • Reaffirms that reusable service ware must be used for onsite dining
  • Shifts from a process that requires all disposable food service ware be home compostable to a new phased approach with a limited number of required products in a home compostable form based on availability (readily available from at least two manufacturers), cost (less than 15% more than the industrial compostable equivalent, based on a range of product sizes and costs), and performance (defined as meeting Ecology’s PFAS Alternative assessments leak and grease resistance standards and/or the number and type of product performance complaints).
  • Shifts responsibility for finding compliant products from the business owners to the city, and staff anticipates that the next step is to share a list of compostable products required for Phase 1 for Council consideration, likely in October.
  • Adds new exception allowing use of metal foil/foil-faced paper for wrapping hot foods (alone or inside another container)
  • Considers allowing businesses to have to-go compostable service ware items out for customers to grab themselves AFTER confirming that they would like to receive them
  • Gives drive-through businesses a year to create a workable way to accept customer’s own cups for beverages.
  • Keeps the existing Business Ambassador program in place to help businesses learn about and give feedback on the new updates and changes on current schedule through the end of 2023
  • Until the ordinance is adopted, businesses should be complying with the current regulations outlined in BIMC 8.24.010, requiring home compostable products for disposable food service ware unless a temporary exemption has been issue. No-one should still be using up old stock of non-home compostable products at this time, as the second three-month extension to use up existing supplies of non-home compostable disposable food service ware expired at the end of June and only applied to a handful of businesses

After this revised version of the waste reduction ordinance is proposed and reviewed at the August 8th meeting, it will be potentially eligible for a final vote at the Sept 12th city council regular business meeting. The Chamber thanks city staff and council for listening to the business community, and working together to find a more workable and equitable version of the Waste Reduction ordinance…

See the meeting agenda and get the details to attend via zoom
(though in-person attendance/public comment is very much encouraged to help complete this public process to everyone’s satisfaction – see you there!)

Arrive at 6pm to sign up for public comment (or log in to do so online)
The actual agenda item discussion is scheduled to begin just after 8pm

Click here to see the agenda packet and all of its details about the proposed changes, the draft updated ordinance, and background information.

Watch the recording of the August 8th Council Meeting (with the ability to just right to this discussion: Agenda Item #8C


Click below to read the Chamber’s coverage tracking this vital business issue over the past 2 years…

Cup Fee Canceled? City Council Reconsiders Business Waste Ordinance (04/17/23)

Waste Reduction Ordinance 2023 Update (01/03/23)

Expanded Business Waste Reduction Ordinance Enters Public Discussion Stage (11/05/22)

COBI Reaches Out, Asks For Business Input On New Waste Reduction Plans (09/21/22)

Bainbridge Business Ambassadors Are Here To Help (10/27/21)

City Council Listens, Reduces, Rewrites Plastics Ordinance (06/29/21)

Plastics Ordinance Progress Undermined By Fatal Flaws (06/22/21)