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Starting Next Year, California Is Banning This From Restaurant Orders

The state just passed a new law that'll come into effect on June 1, 2022.

California passed a new law this week which will impact the way fast-food restaurants serve orders in a major way. Starting next year, customers won't be showered with free utensils and sauce packets like before, as the state is attempting to reduce wastefulness in the restaurant industry.

From June 1, the new Assembly Bill No. 1276 will prohibit servers to include "single-use foodware accessories and standard condiments," aka sweetener and condiment packets and disposable utensils in a customer's order, unless those items are specifically asked for. The same goes for chopsticks and coffee stirrers, but napkins will still be provided as they're not part of the ban.

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First and second violations will receive a warning, whereas a third violation will be fined $25 a day and up to $300 annually.

Here are some of the other rules that are part of the new law:

  • Each of the aforementioned items will need to be requested by the customer individually. Any groupings of utensils or condiments in packages will be prohibited.
  • Servers at drive-thrus and airport restaurant locations will be allowed to ask consumers if they'd like any disposable utensils like spoons and forks, but the patrons must answer them affirmatively.
  • The law doesn't prohibit self-serve stations with utensil- and condiment-dispensing setups. However, operators are encouraged to use bulk dispensers for condiments.
  • Third-party delivery services will have to provide users with a way to add single-use utensils and condiments to digital orders.

A similar law banning straws unless specifically asked for by the customer is already in place in the state.

"California's hallmark is solving problems through innovation, and we're harnessing that spirit to reduce the waste filling our landfills and generating harmful pollutants driving the climate crisis," said governor Gavin Newsom, who signed the bill into law. "With today's action and bold investments to transform our recycling systems, the state continues to lead the way to a more sustainable and resilient future for the planet and all our communities."

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more