Approved Packaging List for Certain CA Food Service Operations to be Published in March
Regulations implementing the Sustainable Packaging for the State of California Act of 2018, SB1335, became effective on December 31, 2021. The Act requires food service facilities located in state-owned facilities, operating on or as a concessionaire on state-owned property, or under contract to provide food service to a state agency to use food service packaging that is either reusable, recyclable, or compostable. It also requires the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to create, publish, and maintain a list of acceptable packaging materials and items. The list is scheduled to be published on CalRecycle’s website by March 6, 2022, 90 days after the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulations.
It is the responsibility of the packaging manufacturer, not food service facilities, to apply for items to be listed. Applications for individual reusable, recyclable, or compostable food service packaging items can be accessed from CalRecycle’s website. Manufacturers must disclose on the application the names of all the chemicals included on California’s Proposition 65 that are used in manufacturing the packaging item . In addition, packaging made from plastic or fiber that is recyclable or compostable may not contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
CalRecycle has specified the criteria that will be used to determine if the packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
A reusable product must either:
- Maintains its shape, structure, and function after 780 cycles in the cleaning and sanitizing process
- Be covered by a warranty guaranteeing that the product will remain reusable for a minimum of one year or the manufacturer will take it back and replace it at the manufacturer’s expense.
A recyclable product must:
- Be a minimum of two inches measured in at least two dimensions (e.g., length and width)
- Not contain additives that initiate or accelerate fragmentation
- Be collected by 60% of recycling programs statewide
- Have sufficient commercial value to be marketed for recycling
- Be sorted and aggregated into defined streams (e.g., mixed paper, PET) by 60% of large volume transfer/processing facilities in the state
The requirements will change on January 1, 2026, to require a recyclable product be collected, sorted, and aggregated by 75% of recycling programs statewide.
A compostable product must either:
- Be collected and accepted by 50% of organic waste recycling programs and compost facilities that accept mixed materials statewide (threshold increases to 75% on January 1, 2026, OR
- Be included in a takeback program that annually recovers 50% of food service packaging items that are distributed at state food service facilities (threshold increases to 75% on January 1, 2026).
Additional requirements for plastic and plastic-coated food service packaging also are specified. They must meet the ASTM standards D6400-19 or D6868-19, demonstrate 90% biodegradation withing 60 days, and comply with the statutory requirements to be labeled “compostable” in California.
More information on sustainable food packaging for state-owned facilities can be found on CalRecycle’s website.