You'll Soon Be Able To Take Your Reusable Containers To Festivals, Concerts And Your Favorite Restaurant
Anyone who's ever been to an outdoor concert or festival has seen overflowing piles of trash everywhere. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed new legislation into law last week that aims to change that by allowing consumers to bring their own reusable containers to carry out their favorite food and beverages at public events.
Current law says that reusable containers have to be cleaned at an approved facility — meaning temporary food vendors, like those at farmer's markets and food festivals — have to provide single-use, disposal containers that eventually end up in trash cans or worse, on the ground.
Starting in January 2020, food vendors and restaurants will also have the option to provide reusable products... or you can just bring your own container, too.
Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco, who introduced the bill, said allowing reusable products — whether provided by the food vendor or the consumer — will help reduce landfill waste that has caused problems for both the environment and public health.
"So many of the single-use food and beverage containers end up in landfills where they don't decompose, where they leach toxic chemicals creating public health concerns," Chiu said.
But you can't just use any washed out yogurt container to get your order. Restaurants and food vendors can refuse to fill up containers that aren't specifically designed for reuse, says Genevieve Abedon, representative of the bill sponsor Clean Seas Lobbying Coalition.
Reusables in California "is an essential step to reducing plastic pollution and unnecessary waste," Abedon said.
Shawn Yu, manager at Tatsu Ramen in Pasadena, says he's open to any opportunity, like the plastic straw ban to help the environment as long as it doesn't affect business.
"If we decide that it would be better for the overall experience, we would absolutely support it," he said.
Tannya Lucero, a teacher in Pasadena, says she always takes food to-go after having a meal at a restaurant and would prefer to use personal containers "because at least I'm not using styrofoam and tossing [it] in the trash."
"It would be beneficial for the restaurant as well as myself," Lucero said.