The County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors today adopted a resolution with the goal of achieving zero waste in Sonoma County by 2030, consistent with objectives of the Climate Action and Resiliency pillar of the County’s Five-Year Strategic Plan to reduce consumption emissions, conserve energy and decrease methane emissions from landfills. While the Zero Waste Resolution does not require specific goals be met, it creates a framework for jurisdictions to pursue actions that reduce waste, promote the best and highest use of materials, support sustainable consumption and endorse resource conservation.
The Board also reviewed a proposed ordinance to prohibit the sale and use of non-compostable and non-recyclable single-use polystyrene foam products often used in packaging materials and take-out orders at restaurants. County officials say the ban would maximize the operating life of landfills, reduce the economic and environmental costs of waste management for businesses and residents, and help protect public health and safety, the natural environment, waterways and wildlife.
“This resolution should serve as a foundation to our overarching goal to reduce waste in Sonoma County,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “With the right mix of community resources, education and technical support for residents and businesses, we can be optimistic about our ability to achieve zero waste and minimize the consequences of polystyrene foam escaping into our landfills and littering our rivers and roadsides.”
The County of Sonoma Department of Transportation and Public Works, in coordination with the County of Sonoma Office of Equity and Sonoma County Economic Development Board, is developing a community outreach and engagement plan to mitigate any potential negative or disproportionate impacts of the proposed policy on communities or businesses. Zero Waste Sonoma (formerly Sonoma County Waste Management Agency) is expected to conduct education and outreach in English and Spanish to ensure wide coverage and understanding of the proposed ordinance, as well as provide technical support to businesses and restaurants that may need assistance identifying and procuring compliant products. Data metrics related to implementation of the policy will be recorded to help address potential inequities.
The Board on Tuesday also discussed a proposed ordinance to prohibit the use and sale of disposable food service ware and other products containing polystyrene foam, perfluoroalkyl, and polyflouroalkyl substances. The policy is based on the model polystyrene waste reduction ordinance approved by Zero Waste Sonoma in February 2021.
Members of the public may view related Board materials here:
The Board is expected to vote on the proposed ban on Sept. 14. The ban would include certain retail sales such as certain coolers, ice chests, pool toys, beach toys, packing peanuts and other packaging materials in addition to food service products. If adopted, the ordinance would take effect date Jan. 1, 2022 and would follow all proper noticing and ordinance procedures.
If approved, Sonoma County would join the cities of Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Windsor, Santa Rosa and Sonoma, which have approved bans on polystyrene foam products.