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New law in California lets restaurant-goers bring their own containers for leftovers

multi-use personal containers for food storage

You’re at the Cheesecake Factory enjoying a huge plate of…pasta? Some type of Asian food? A cheeseburger?…well, there’s a whole novel to choose from. But, you’re halfway through and you can’t seem to fit the rest anywhere, so you’re going to box it up and take it home. And guess what? You brought your own Tupperware this time. Look at you! Being eco-friendly.

Nope, this is not a drill! A new law in California now allows restaurants the choice to opt into having customers bring their own to-go containers for meals to take home. The new law got governor Gavin Newsom’s stamp of approval in July, and is another huge step in an effort to cut down waste. 

Sometimes, you know going into a meal you’re going to need a doggie bag to take the rest home, especially with Maggiano’s Little Italy “Buy One, Take One” deal. But all those plastic containers definitely add up, so bringing your own seems like a great idea, right?

Stacks of plastic bowl and food container in kitchen for takeaway or delivery.

While some restaurants will be more than happy to fill your container, many of them may decline with fear of cross-contamination in the kitchen. Afterall, who knows how long that container’s had food in it or where it’s been since then. Luckily, the new law is much more clearly laid out with a protocol for businesses to follow for how to safely and lawfully accept reusable containers.

In an effort to standardize the process and keep things sanitary, restaurants must have a written policy for preventing cross-contamination available on-site for health inspectors. They must also “isolate the consumer-owned container from the serving surface or sanitize the surface after each filling.”

This new law will definitely help us minimize landfill waste and plastic pollution in California, allow consumers more choices, and helping businesses save money.

It will be interesting to see how many restaurants and other food vendors will be participating in this new zero-waste effort in the coming months. We’ve already got plastic straws down, so let’s step up our game, California!

What do you think about the new “bring your own container” initiative? Share your thoughts with us!

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