GAIA Zero Waste MasterPlan - Flipbook - Page 44
44 The Zero Waste Masterplan
Safe reuse in the era of COVID-19
A total of 125 health experts have published a statement defending the
safety of reusables: contrary to plastic industry claims, single-use
disposables are not safer than reusables, and that “reusable systems can
be used safely by employing basic hygiene.” Safety protocols can include:
• Sanitizing hard surfaces and reusable containers.
• Complying with the State food safety regulations, and the FDA’s
guidance on retail practices and food safety during the COVID-19
• Having a health department-approved plan showing a process
preventing cross-contamination of food, including contact surfaces.
• Using contact-free systems for customers’ personal cups, containers,
• Avoiding contact between customers’ reusable containers and serving
surfaces, or sanitizing that surface each time there is contact.
• Requiring customers and employees to wear masks.
CASE ST UDY
BERKELEY’S REUSABLE FOODWARE
Berkeley, Californiav’s reusable foodware
ordinance went into effect in 2019. This
legislation is groundbreaking in its ambition,
consultations with community stakeholders,
and support for local businesses. The
ordinance doesn’t just ban plastics and
switch them for another material. Rather, it
works its way up the zero waste hierarchy
by first phasing out single-use plastics in
favor of single-use compostables, and then
replacing compostables for reusable systems.
The city’s Zero Waste commission held four
public hearings and collected comments from
restaurant owners, environmental advocates,
members of the disability community, and
other residents to ensure the legislation was
equitable and effective.
The ordinance prescribes three phases of
implementation spaced out over a 15-month
period to ensure businesses have enough
time and flexibility to transition. The first
phase mandates that food vendors can only
give disposable utensils, straws, and other
“accessory items” (such as stirrers and