Zero Waste

Our community has a long history of working to reduce waste. In 1989, the City prohibited retail food establishments from using non-biodegradable packaging (Styrofoam), followed by the Single Use Carry Out Bag Ordinance in 2012 (Ordinance 2012-06, commonly known as the "plastic bag ban"). In January 2020, the charge for a retailer’s paper bags increased from five cents to eight cents to be consistent with the charge in the rest of Kitsap County as authorized by Ordinance 2019-30.

In June 2021, the Council passed Ordinance 2021-18, which only allows single-use food service products to be provided when a customer asks or confirms they would like to use them. In November 2021, City Council adopted Ordinance No. 2021-34 to reduce plastic waste from food service and lodging businesses.

Updates to Waste Reduction Regulations  

On September 12, 2023, City Council adopted Ordinance 2023-24 amending BIMC 8.24, Disposable Food Service Ware and Waste Reduction. These changes were made based on feedback from local businesses and City staff experience implementing the disposable food service ware and waste reduction requirements that went into effect in 2022 and 2023. 

Key changes include the following:  

  • Food retail establishments on the Island are no longer required to charge a 25-cent disposable cup fee for each disposable, home compostable beverage cup provided to customers for off-premises dining.  Customers are still encouraged to bring their own reusable cup!  
  • Changes from a process that requires all disposable food service ware be home compostable to a limited list of home compostable products required each year. View the 2024 home compostable food service ware product list (PDF).  
  • Allows the use of metal foil and metal foil-faced papers to wrap hot food such as hamburgers and burritos. These products can be used inside home compostable containers. 
  • Allows retail food establishments to make the following single-use items available to customers in cylinders, bins, dispensers, containers, or other means on a self-service basis for to-go orders after customers affirm that they want them 
    • Utensils (home compostable)
    • Straws (home compostable)
    • Condiments in packaging
    • Beverage cup lids 

 What remains the same:  

  • Reusable food service ware is still required for all onsite dining 
  • Retail food establishments must still ask customers if they want single-use food service ware (such as utensils and straws) for to-go orders.  
  • Home compostable products are still required for a limited number of disposable food service ware items. The 2024 home compostable food service ware product list was adopted by City Council on November 28, 2023 and is available in a PDF copy and as a graphic below. 
  • Home compostable food service ware products are still required to be free of intentionally added PFAS chemicals, also known as forever chemicals, which are linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.  
  • Expanded polystyrene food service ware items (all #6 plastics and Styrofoam) are still prohibited in the City of Bainbridge Island. In June 2024, the sale and distribution of expanded polystyrene food service products like containers, plates, bowls, clamshells, trays and cups will be banned in all of Washington State.

Table showing a list of 16 disposable food service ware products required in a home compostable form

Additional resources and educational materials to implement the City's waste reduction regulations can be found on the 2024 Waste Reduction Resources link. 

Thank you Climate Smart Bainbridge Businesses!

Thank you to the following food and lodging establishments for taking the lead on efforts to reduce single-use plastic waste! These businesses pledged to "Erase the Waste" before new waste reduction regulations went into effect in 2023. Businesses received recognition as a Climate Smart Bainbridge business leader in the Bainbridge Island Review, on social media, and in City communications in 2022. 

Food Retail & Lodging Businesses that Pledged to Erase the Waste

  • The Island School
  • Town & Country Market
  • Bainbridge Vineyards
  • The Madison Diner 
  • The Quality Inn and Suites
  • Cups Espresso and Café
  • SuBI Japanese Restaurant
  • Nirvana Indian and Nepali Cuisine 

Other Community Businesses that Pledged to Erase the Waste

  • OfficeXpats
  • Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce

Window Decal artwork for Erase the Waste Pledge

Look for this decal to identify businesses that took the lead on waste reduction! 

Infographic about why the city is banning single use plastics