Food Service Requirements

Attention all businesses in Edmonds selling food and beverages.

NEW Food Service Packaging Requirements - per City of Edmonds Ordinances #4139 & #4145

Single-Use Plastic Ban Effective January 1, 2020

  • At that time food service businesses are required to no longer offer any single-use plastic food service item to its customers.
  • Options include durable or compostable alternatives only (see Resources below).
  • This applies to all food service businesses including:

Full-service restaurants
Fast food restaurants
Coffee shops
Grocery stores
Retail food vendors
Home delivery services
Non-profit food providers
Vending trucks and carts
Farmers markets
Institutional cafeterias
Food and beverage vendor booths at public events on city property
Other businesses selling food within the City

  • Affected businesses are encouraged to read the full text of both ordinances that support these requirements. See Resources below.
  • The City will work with businesses to assist in compliance with the requirements. Please contact the City here with any questions or concerns.

Businesses, Please Take Action

  • Use up your existing inventory of single-use plastic food service items before January 1, 2020.
  • Choose compliant food service items to meet the new food service packaging requirements. See Resources below.
  • Provide straws and utensils only upon customers' request (one of the requirements).
  • It is encouraged that businesses arrange for commercial collection of compostable materials (Sound Disposal in Edmonds Bowl) (Cedar Grove Compost for Edmonds in general) and designate clearly-marked collection containers for compostables (including food wastes) and recyclables in employee and customer areas.

Banned Items

  • All food service containers made from petroleum-based plastics, including expanded polystyrene (EPS of Styrofoam®). These items are not compostable. Examples of typical items included plates, trays, cups, lids, bowls, cartons, portion cups for condiments and sauces, deli rounds, and hinged or lidded containers (clamshells).

  • All single-use utensils made from petroleum-based plastics, including straws, spoons, forks, knives, sporks, chopsticks, cocktail picks, stir sticks, and similar products.

Current Exemptions to the Requirements

A temporary exemption is reviewed each year and is currently provided for a period of one year beginning January1, 2020 and ending December 31, 2020. Therefore, the requirement that all single-use plastic food service items be compostable shall not apply to:

  • Disposable flexible plastic drinking straws when needed by customers due to medical or physical conditions.
  • Disposable long-handled thick plastic soda spoons when required and used for thick drinks and identified as non-compostable by the food service business to its customers.
  • Plastic portion cups (one-ounce size) if used for hot foods or requiring lids and identified as non-compostable by the food service business to its customers.
  • Containers, including trays, for hot, greasy foods such as hot roasted chicken.
  • Metal foil, metal foil-faced papers and engineered composite papers used to wrap hot food such as hamburgers and burritos.

A permanent exemption is given to prepackaged foods that food service businesses sell or otherwise provide to their customers in non-compostable containers that have been filled and sealed prior to receipt by the food service business. Examples are salads, sandwiches, and other food case items.

Temporary Waivers

The City may provide a renewable one-year waivers, by petition, for the use of certain food service containers or utensils. Businesses or individuals must petition for consideration. Petitions should be in the form of a letter stating the petitioner's request and reasons supporting the proposed rule change or waiver. Correspondence should be addressed to: Public Works Administration 7110 210th St SW, Edmonds, WA 98026


Starting on January 1, 2020 it is illegal in the City of Edmonds for any restaurant, café, grocery store, coffee shop, cafeteria, or other food service business to sell or provide for consumption, on or off premises, food and beverage items in single-use plastic containers. Any person or business violating the ban on single-use plastic containers and utensils is subject to a civil penalty of $100.00. The penalty for a second or subsequent offense within two years of any previous offense shall be $250.00.