Date of Graduation

Winter 12-13-2019

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Deneb Karentz, Ph.D.


Municipal jurisdictions in the San Francisco Bay Region (SFBR) are passing comprehensive single-use plastic (SUP) foodware ordinances in response to growing public pressure, and a California mandate to achieve zero waste. SUP foodware items have become an issue of concern because they are readily available in the restaurant industry, and are regularly among the top-ten pollutants collected during beach cleanups. SUP foodware items pose a danger to marine wildlife and contribute to rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Policy makers in the SFBR are creating local ordinances that regulate the distribution and use of a variety of SUP foodware items. SUP ordinances are a new type of regulation and to help future policy makers better understand these regulations, a survey of all 108 SFBR municipal codes was conducted to identify the various types of SUP ordinances, and to identify and compare key ordinance characteristics. The results of the survey and analysis were: 45 (41.67%) municipalities do not have a SUP foodware ordinance, 52 (48.15%) have a polystyrene ordinance, four (3.70%) have a polystyrene and straw ordinance, and seven (6.48%) have a comprehensive SUP ordinance. Additional results were: municipalities that passed comprehensive SUP ordinances met the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), ordinance language varied between municipalities, municipalities varied on what foodware items were regulated and how, and municipalities varied only slightly on what ordinance exemptions were provided. The identified variations were expected without the guidance of state-wide legislation or a regional model ordinance. Variations between ordinances may lead to regional consumer and food vendor confusion but more data on the environmental and fiscal impact of these ordinances should be collected before state-wide legislation or a model ordinance is developed.