2023 Waste Reduction Resources

In November 2021, City Council adopted new regulations to reduce single-use plastic waste, effective January 1, 2023. These regulations are intended to reduce waste in our environment and litter in the ocean, protect public health, and reduce our dependence on plastic. For detailed information, please review Chapter 8.24 (Disposable Food Service Ware and Waste Reduction) of the Municipal Code or explore the tabs below.  A list of frequently asked questions is also available as a PDF and will be updated as new questions are received from both businesses and customers. 

Waste Reduction Regulations for Bainbridge Island: 

  • disposable plastic food service ware is prohibited
  • reusable food service ware is required for on-site dining
  • disposable food service ware is required to be home compostable*
  • expanded polystyrene-based food service ware (all plastics #6 and Styrofoam) for prepared food is prohibited
  • the distribution of single-use personal care products not packaged in “home compostable packaging” is prohibited in lodging establishments
  • the use of refillable dispensers for personal care products is encouraged in lodging establishments

Changes as of September 2023:

On September 12, 2023, City Council adopted Ordinance 2023-24 amending BIMC 8.24, Disposable Food Service Ware and Waste Reduction. Key changes include the following: 

  • Eliminated the 25 cent disposable cup fee. Food retail establishments on the Island are no longer required to charge a 25 cent disposable cup fee for each disposable, home compostable beverage cup provided to customers for off-premises dining. 
  • Changed from a process that requires all disposable food service ware be home compostable to a limited list of home compostable products required each year with products on the list evaluated based on availability, cost and performance. Note: the new list of required products in a home compostable form is not yet available. Businesses should continue to use home compostable products for all disposable food service ware unless an item has received a temporary exemption through the end of 2023. 
  • Added an exemption for the use of metal foil, metal foil-faced papers and engineered composite papers used to wrap hot food such as hamburgers and burritos (i.e., these materials are not required to be home compostable).
  • Removed language prohibiting retail food establishments from making the products listed in BIMC 8.24.025 available to customers in cylinders, bins, dispensers, containers or other means on a self-service basis. Businesses must still affirm customers want these items but can leave them out for self-service after affirmation.
  • Removed beverage cups from the list of items requiring customer affirmation.  

City staff is currently working on additional educational materials to communicate changes which will be posted on this page soon. 

*NOTE: Some items have been granted temporary exemptions to the home compostable requirements through the end of 2023. All businesses should be using home compostable products for disposable food service ware unless an item is listed on the temporary exemption list. 

Submit Feedback on the Proposed 2024 Home Compostable Product List

A list of 16 proposed products was developed for inclusion in the initial list of disposable food service ware items required in a home compostable form starting in 2024. The City is allowing a comment period on the list of 16 products through October 29, 2023. Submit your feedback today.

Have questions? Unsure if a product is compliant with City regulations?

Contact ZeroWaste@bainbridgewa.gov 

Check out the resources below to help your retail food service establishment comply with the 2023 waste reduction regulations in the City of Bainbridge Island. A list of frequently asked questions is also available as a PDF and will be updated as new questions are received. 

Can businesses use up existing products that are not home compostable? 

Businesses were given permission to request an additional 3-month extension to use up their existing supply of non-home compostable food and beverage packaging for to-go orders (through June 30, 2023). The application closed on April 14, 2023. 17 businesses were granted the 3-month extension. As of July 1, 2023, all food retail businesses on the island should be using home compostable products for disposable food service ware unless a product has received a temporary exemption from the City. 

Purchasing Guide for Retail Food Establishments

View example, compliant options for disposable, home compostable food service ware, reusable options, and available discounts for local businesses. This guide also includes a list of temporarily exempted products (i.e., those products for which there are not currently at least two readily available home compostable alternatives). 

Purchasing Guide (Excel file will automatically download)

Please note: 

  • This guide has multiple tabs located at the bottom of the Excel file. 
  • This guide does not provide an exhaustive list of all compliant product options. It provides a sample of compliant product options currently available in the market. 

Requesting a Waiver for Onsite, Reusable Food Service Ware Requirements

Businesses without onsite or off-site dishwashing capacity may petition the City for a full or partial one-year waiver. The business must demonstrate an inability to comply due to insurmountable space constraints, undue financial hardship, and/or other extraordinary circumstances. Waivers may be granted for a partial or full one year term. Granting of a waiver is at the sole discretion of the City Manager or their designee and is not subject to appeal.

Onsite Dining- Waiver Request Form (PDF - English); Please visit City Hall if you prefer a physical copy

Information Regarding Reusable Cups and Containers  

Reusable Cups: Customers may provide their own reusable cups for beverage service in accordance with the Retail Food Code, WAC 246-215-03348. Reusable cups must be clean, sturdy, and appropriately insulated if ordering hot beverages. 

Reusable Containers for Food: Retail food establishments may not refill consumer-owned containers* without a written, approved plan as required in the Retail Food Code, WAC 246-215-03348. Food establishments can submit a written plan for Kitsap County's health inspector to approve to allow consumers and employees to refill visibly clean consumer-owned containers with food. Visit the Washington State Department of Health website to complete a plan for the refilling of consumer-owned containers. Review guidance from the Kitsap Public Health District on refilling reusable containers to learn more. 


  • A written, approved plan is not required for retail food establishments to refill a consumer-owned beverage container if a contamination-free dispensing system is used by an employee or the customer; if the container is returned to the same customer; if the container can be rinsed with fresh, running hot water at the food service establishment; or if a container of any kind is refilled at a water vending station. 
  • A separate plan is not required for dine-in customers to fill a personal container with their portioned meal from their individual meal service (such as a dinner entrée on their plate). 

Please contact ZeroWaste@bainbridgewa.gov with questions or for more information.

2023 Waste Reduction Summary Graphic