COVID-19 UPDATE | The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please click here for the City’s Response to COVID-19

Polystyrene and Food Service Ware Information

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Block Packaging and food service ware

Environmentally Acceptable Food Packaging -"To-Go" Food Service Ware 

Current requirements

  • All food service providers within the City of Santa Cruz utilizing disposable food service ware including beverage lids and cutlery shall use biodegradable or compostable or products that are accepted in the City of Santa Cruz recycling program.
  • Polystyrene expanded plastic foam and non-recyclable rigid polystyrene (#6 PS) food containers are prohibited
  • Straws, lids, cutlery, and to-go condiment packages upon request of the customer.

To obtain more information just click on the links.

Changes effective September 8th, 2020

  • Expanded definition of Compostable and Biodegradeable- See FAQ
  • All food service providers required to charge a $.25 "take-out fee" for every beverage sold in a disposable cup. 
  •  Read the Final Adoption of EAFP ordinance 1.28.20
  • FAQ- Coming Soon
Biodegradable Containters


Packing Peanuts: Polystyrene packing peanuts are not accepted for recycling and should be contained in a bag and placed in the trash.  Note: The UPS stores no longer accept any type of packing peanuts from the public for reuse.  The company made an environmental decision to discontinue the use on packing peanuts at all locations throughout the U.S.  They do accept bubble wrap and other packing material.  

For more information please contact: 

Waste Reduction Program Manager 

809 Center Street, Room 201 

Santa Cruz, California 95060 

(831) 420-5593 


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