Even if you hold on to reusable containers at home and wash and reuse your disposable plastics whenever possible, it's not always easy to live a sustainable, waste-free lifestyle, especially when you're on the move and crates destined for garbage are. Now, according to Nation's Restaurant News California has recently passed legislation that makes it easier for customers to take their own returnable containers into restaurants to take home groceries while saving waste.
] It used to be commonplace in many California restaurants to refuse to carry food containers (tupperware, cups, etc.) into the kitchen to prevent cross-contamination. And those who accepted these containers would do so without clear guidelines from health departments. This new law, signed by governor Gavin Newsom in July, gives restaurants the opportunity to opt for a safer, more regulated version of this practice.
By law, there are facilities that want to use containers provided by patrons. There is no legal obligation to clean them, and ideally the containers should be filled in a separate place from the kitchen surface. If they need to be filled on the same surface that is used for serving and preparing food, the area should be cleaned immediately afterwards. Restaurants should also have a guideline to prevent cross-contamination, which is available to health inspectors in writing. Rather, companies have the ability to follow more formal guidelines on how to securely reuse containers by customers. The bill not only introduces new rules for takeaway in restaurants, but can also change the way food is offered at festivals and other events. In the past, temporary custodians had to stick to disposable tableware and crockery in accordance with health regulations, but under the new law, reusable items are permitted as long as they are cleaned on site or in an approved facility.
[h/t The Takeout]