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June 28, 2011 > Polystyrene foam food containers banned

Polystyrene foam food containers banned

Compostable or recyclable food containers required by July 1, 2011

Submitted By City of Hayward

Beginning July 1, 2011, restaurants and all other vendors selling food at retail must use only paper, cardboard, aluminum or recyclable plastic cups, plates, bowls, trays and "to go" containers. This requirement applies to all foods eaten at a business or ordered "to go."

Hayward has joined Alameda, Emeryville, Fremont, Oakland and Richmond, among others, in requiring recyclable or compostable food containers. Polystyrene foam causes significant litter problems, is not recyclable and may harm marine wildlife.

Retail food vendors should deplete their inventory of polystyrene foam containers by the end of June and switch to acceptable alternatives.

This requirement applies to foods eaten at a business, packaged left-overs, or ordered "to go;" foods offered by a Hayward business that can be eaten without further preparation (e.g. cooked chicken, sandwiches or sushi). Recyclable plastic containers, marked with 1 through 5, 6 (clear polystyrene), or 7, within three mobius arrows, are acceptable.

The following are not included in the ban - polystyrene foam containers for raw meat, fish, poultry or eggs; foods packaged outside Hayward and later sold within the city; single-use straws, coffee stirs, utensils and hot cup lids.

All retail businesses in Hayward that provide prepared foods or beverages for the public must comply. They include restaurants, delicatessens, supermarkets, retail food vendors, cafeterias, sales outlets, shops, catering trucks or vehicles, caterers, farmers' markets, sidewalk or other vendors and special events promoters who require a permit from, or contract with, the city.

Acceptable containers are available at Costco, Lucky's, Safeway, Smart & Final, Target and others. Visit the City of Hayward website for additional distributors or other information at

Food retailers can help reduce costs by using reusable instead of disposable food service ware for customers eating in or by encouraging customers to bring their own reusable containers for take-out (e.g. travel mugs), by offering a discount.

For questions about the ban, contact City of Hayward Solid Waste Manager Vera Dahle-Lacaze at (510) 583-4725 or by email to

To start recycling-service, contact Waste Management Recycling Coordinator Rebecca Parnes at (510) 613-2104 or by email to

For more information, visit the City of Hayward website at

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