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. 

Effective January 1, 2023:

  • 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
  • a 25-cent fee for disposable cups is required
  • 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

*NOTE: All businesses have been granted a 3-month grace period to use up their existing supplies of non-home compostable food and beverage packaging for to-go orders (through March 31, 2023).

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

The City is offering monthly “COBI Chats on Waste Regulations” to connect with local businesses impacted by the 2023 waste reduction regulations. Local food and lodging businesses can talk with City staff in an informal setting to address questions or concerns associated with implementation of the new waste reduction regulations. Snacks will be provided. You can also contact ZeroWaste@bainbridgewa.gov with questions or for more information about COBI Chat sessions. 

When: Wednesday, April 26, from 3-4 pm

Where: Bainbridge Island Downtown Association, 147 Madrone Ln N, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 

  1. Resources for Food Service Establishments

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? 

Yes, for a limited time. Businesses on Bainbridge Island can use up existing food service ware supplies for to-go orders through March 31, 2023 without incurring penalties. No new food service ware products should be purchased in non-compliant packaging. Businesses are encouraged to start transitioning to home compostable to-go containers as soon as possible. 

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

Requesting a Temporary Exemption for Home Compostable Food Service Ware Products

Businesses may request a temporary waiver for any product that does not have at least two vendors that make readily available home compostable alternatives. Granting of a temporary exemption is at the sole discretion of the City Manager or their designee and is not subject to appeal. Please note: Any replacement for an item that is temporarily exempt MUST be certified to be compostable in an industrial composting facility in a timely manner (i.e., look for BPI/CMA certification) and/or eligible to be accepted for recycling by your establishment's recycling and/or compost collection service. Polystyrene is still banned if an item is temporarily exempt.

Temporary Exemption for Home Compostable Products (Microsoft form)

Temporary Exemption for Home Compostable Products  (PDF - English); Please visit City Hall if you prefer a physical copy 

Requesting City Review of Home Compostable Certifications & Organizations 

If your business has identified a product that is made of natural fibers and free of all intentionally added fluorinated chemicals that is certified by an organization other than BPI, CMA or OK Compost HOME, you can submit a request for City review of that product to see if it meets our home compostable standard. City staff will review and respond to requests within 30 days.  

Request for Third Party Certification for Home Compostable Product (Microsoft form)

Request for Third Party Certification for Home Compostable Product (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.

  1. Temporarily Exempted Products
  1. $0.25 Fee for Disposable Cups
  1. Temporary waivers for onsite dining requirements
  1. Customer Affirmation for Single-Use Food Service Products
  1. Resources for lodging establishments
  1. Resources for Customers
  1. reporting potential violations

Composting at Home

Looking for tips on how to compost "home compostable" products at home? Check out the video below with information provided by Anne Lovejoy and John Barutt at the December 12, 2022 Home Compostable Vendor Fair at City Hall. Specific guidance on how to prepare materials for composting is available around the 28:48 mark in the video. 

2023 Waste Reduction Summary Graphic