Ocean Friendly Restaurants, Plastic Pollution
September 27 2019

Statewide Law Supports Bring Your Own Container, Cup, and More!

by Rachael Coccia

In July 2019, the California Governor signed AB 619 into statewide law. Referred to as the “Bring Your Own” Bill, this legislation is an impressive step towards supporting the transition from single-use items to reusables.

This law allows temporary food facilities at events to serve customers in reusable containers rather than single-use disposables. It also clarifies existing health code laws, ensuring that the public can bring reusable containers to restaurants for take-out. Read more about AB 619 at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

Since AB 619 does not enforce the use of reusables, it’s up to eco-conscious restaurant owners, food vendors, and consumers to make the most of this new law. This is especially exciting news for our California-based Ocean Friendly Restaurants as they have the opportunity to fully adapt a plastic-free mindset at their establishments. Below are some tips to help maximize the impact of AB 619!

Restaurants: Click here for a fact sheet to share online or post in your establishment!

  • Allow approved reusables to be filled.
  • Encourage customers to bring their own reusables by providing a small discount when they bring them in.
  • Sell approved reusables (with brand name if desired) for customers to purchase when ordering to-go.
  • Offer a deposit-refund program where customers can rent reusables and return them once finished.

Consumers: Click here for a fact sheet to share online or post in your community!

  • Dine at restaurants that offer reusables for onsite dining (click "Find an OFR Near You") and allow you to bring your own to go
  • Carry approved reusables with you when you go out to eat or attend a festival. Always be prepared!
  • Spread the word to your family and friends and encourage them to bring reusables with them, too.

Food Vendors: Click here for a fact sheet to share online or post at your food stand!

  • Allow approved reusables to be filled.
  • Encourage customers to bring their own reusables by providing a small discount when they bring them in.
  • Sell approved reusables (with brand name if desired) for customers to purchase when ordering to-go.
  • Hire a service to rent out reusables through a deposit-refund program and wash them once returned.

There’s a cultural shift coming and we can all get onboard by changing the way we think about disposables. Change never comes easy, but we are living at a critical time where our behavior can either save or destroy our planet. Be part of history by leading through example and supporting the shift to reusables today!

Are you interested in becoming an Ocean Friendly Restaurant? Would you like to volunteer to sign up restaurants in your town or city? Visit go.surfrider.org/ofr to learn more or email ofr@surfrider.org to get involved.