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New law will reduce the use of single-use utensils, condiments, straws beginning Jan. 1

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OLYMPIA – Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Washington restaurants will no longer automatically include single-use food service items like utensils, condiments and straws with food orders. A new state law restricts the use of these items and prohibits packaged bundles of single-use items in order to reduce waste and litter – although customers can still request individual items if needed.

Single-use food serviceware items covered by the new requirements include:

  • Utensils (knives, forks, spoons, chopsticks) 
  • Cocktail picks, splash sticks, and stirrers
  • Straws
  • Condiment packets, sachets, or sauce cups
  • Cold cup lids, except those provided at drive-through windows or events with over 2,500 people
Under the new law, to receive a single-use food serviceware item, customers must request it, confirm their choice when asked, or select the item they want from a self-serve station.

“Automatically including disposable silverware, straws and condiments with every order creates a huge amount of waste, much of which ends up littering our roads and damaging our environment,” said Laurie Davies, manager of the Solid Waste program at the Washington Department of Ecology. “This law nudges people to help reduce unnecessary waste.”



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