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.
Learn more about new waste reduction regulations for Bainbridge Island businesses below.
Rebates Available for Local Restaurants Switching to Reusable Dishes
Local food service establishments can get a head start on transitioning to reusable dishes and utensils, as outlined in Ordinance No. 2021-34, which requires reusable food service ware for on-site dining as of January 1, 2023. West Coast nonprofit, Plastic Free Restaurants, offers reimbursements up to $5/piece to restaurant owners for replacing single-use plastics with reusable metal, ceramic, etc. dishes and utensils. Bainbridge Island food service establishments are eligible through May 31, 2022. Learn more and register at Plastic Free Restaurants.
- January 2022 - New Rules for Single-Use Food Service Items
- January 2023 - New Rules for Reducing Plastic Waste in Food Service and Lodging Businesses
On November 9, 2021, City Council adopted Ordinance No. 2021-34 to reduce plastic waste from food service and lodging businesses. The new ordinance:
- prohibits disposable plastic food service ware
- requires reusable food service ware for on-site dining
- requires that disposable food service ware be “home compostable”
- prohibits the use of expanded polystyrene-based food service ware (all plastics #6 and Styrofoam) for prepared food
- requires a 25-cent fee for disposable cups
- encourages the use of refillable dispensers for personal care products in lodging establishments
- prohibits the distribution of single-use personal care products not packaged in “home compostable packaging”
These changes are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2023. The City will focus on education and outreach efforts in 2022, developing resources to support the business community in implementing the new requirements. The City will also review opportunities to provide financial assistance to local businesses affected by the ordinance to assist with the initial costs of compliance.
If you have questions about the new regulations, please send an email to City staff.