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City Bans Single Use Plastics at Events Held in the Plaza and Depot Park

Posted on May 1, 2019


At their meeting on September 5, 2018, the City Council voted to implement a ban on the use of Single Use Plastic at events held at the Sonoma Plaza and Depot Park. Council approved this ban to go in effect for all 2019 events. The purpose of the ban is to reduce the amount of waste being sent to the landfill. This policy is designed to encourage event organizers and their vendors to choose more environmentally friendly products.

Changes you will notice at events held at the Sonoma Plaza and Depot Park this year:

  • Vendors will no longer be able to sell beverages in Single Use Plastic containers. This includes bottled water and other beverages.
  • Event organizers and their vendors will be using more environmentally friendly products to serve their food and beverages such as compostable paper cups, plates and service ware and bamboo utensils.
  • Attendees are encouraged to bring reusable utensils, cups and containers from home. Some vendors at events will be providing discounts to those who bring their own supplies.
  • All attendees are encouraged to bring refillable water bottles to events.

Why can’t single use plastics be recycled?
China has been the main recycler for U.S. materials but is no longer. The ban is in response to the dramatic increase in waste being diverted to landfills due to China’s changing policy.

What about compostable or biodegradable plastics?
“Compostable plastic” i.e. biodegradable utensils, cups, and PLA coated paper plates are included in the ban. “Compostable plastic” items are widely marketed as compostable; however, they are not accepted by the City of Sonoma or Sonoma County composting because these programs are certified organic composting programs. Additionally, “compostable plastic” items are not recyclable unless cleaned after use; hence they end up in a landfill. In the event “compostable plastic” is composted, under normal landfill conditions (anaerobic, low-moisture) it can take 100-1,000 years to decompose.

What can I use and what will vendors be using?
Vendors will be using paper and glass containers plus bamboo utensils.  Bring your own containers from home and help Planet Earth!

For more information about special events in the Sonoma Plaza and Depot Park, please visit our Special Events pages.  For questions about the special events single-use plastics ban, please email Special Events Manager, Lisa Janson.

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