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.

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

  1. January 2022 - New Rules for Single-Use Food Service Items
  2. January 2023 - New Rules for Reducing Plastic Waste in Food Service and Lodging Businesses

Disposable food service ware – typically used for only a few minutes before being discarded – can have significant, long term environmental impacts. Bainbridge Island is working to reduce single-use plastics to protect our marine environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As of January 1, 2022, single-use food service products can only be provided when a customer asks or confirms they would like to use them. 

Single-use food service products include:

  • Utensils
  • Straws/stirrers
  • Condiments in packaging
  • Beverage cups and/or lids (beverage cup lids for hot beverages or beverages for delivery, drive-thru, or curbside pickup are still allowed without customer request)

The new regulations, which took effect January 1, 2022, include the following changes for retail establishments:

Dine in

  • Businesses can’t leave out bins with single-use food service items for customers to take on their own.
  • Single-use food service items are still available for customers who ask for them or respond “yes” to a business offering them

 Take out

  • Single-use food service items can’t automatically be placed in to-go orders but are available for customers who ask for them or respond “yes” to a business offering them.
  • Single-use food service items are still available for customers who ask for them or respond “yes” to a business offering them. 

Educational materials are available to help businesses educate their staff and customers about these changes. You can pickup free tabletop tents at the Chamber of Commerce, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 am -1:00 pm or 2:00 – 5:00 pm. 

View frequently asked questions (PDF) about the 2022 single-use food service item regulations. For detailed information, please review Chapter 8.24 (Use of Nonbiodegradable Packaging Materials) of the Municipal Code. 

If you have questions about the new regulations, or would like copies of posters or tabletop tents, please send an email to City staff

Graphic with details about 2022 waste reduction requirements


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