Compostable Products

Updated November 30, 2020

The Burien City Council passed Ordinance 709 on February 3, 2020 banning the use and sale of plastic food service products. All food service business must use and provide compostable food service products starting July 1, 2021.

This ordinance applies to all food service businesses, including restaurants, grocery stores, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, and home delivery services.

Specifically, the ordinance:

  • Requires all food serviceware and packaging to be commercially compostable. The products must meet ASTM D6400 or ASTM D6868 standards, or be made of natural fiber (such as paper or wood).
  • Prohibits products such as Styrofoam take out containers, plastic lined take out containers, plastic utensils, and plastic to go cups.
  • Exemptions to the law include: prepackaged foods, catering trays, produce bags, clear food and shrink wrap, containers from uniquely shaped foods like cupcakes, hot meat item containers, straws, and items that receive a one-year waiver.

Additional Resources

Contact Us


For questions about the law or to get support for your business, please contact:

Paige Morris
Environmental Education Specialist
environment@burienwa.gov
(206) 248-5511



Definitions
  • Food service products: a product designed for single use on or in which any raw, prepared or cooked foods or beverages are placed or packaged or intended to be placed or packaged and are designed for a single use, including but not limited to containers, plates, bowls, cups, trays, cartons, lids, meat trays, deli rounds, knives, forks, spoons, splash sticks, stirrers, utensils, portion cups, cocktail picks, chopsticks, clamshells and other hinged or lidded containers.
  • Prepackaged foods: food service products that have been filled with food and sealed by a separate food service business or food manufacturer prior to receipt by the point of sale food service business.
  • One-year waiver: The City Manager may grant renewable one-year waivers from the ordinance for a specific food service product upon sufficient proof that the business would undergo undue hardship as a result of this ordinance.
  • Compostable products: Compostable products are made of material that can be completely broken down, such as plant-based plastics (PLA), plant fiber, wood, and paper. Compostable products meet ASTM D6400 or D6868 standards.
Compostable Product Information and Vendors

You can buy compostable food service products from a variety of different vendors. Always check with your waste hauler on the compostable products they accept!

Caution: A large number of products advertised as “eco-friendly” are not compostable and do not break down in the commercial compost system. Be sure the products you buy meet the definition of compostable. 

Accepted Commercial Compostable Items

Compostable Product Vendors

*Not all products listed are compostable. 

The City of Burien does not endorse any of the products, vendors, consultants, or documentation referenced. Any mention of vendors, products, or services is for informational purposes only. If you are a vendor of compostable products and would like to be featured on the City of Burien's website, please reach out to environment@burienwa.gov.

Food and Yard Waste Collection

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Frequently Asked Questions

What types of products does the law affect?

Answer: Food service products that must be compostable under the new law include but are not limited to:

  • Containers
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Cups
  • Trays
  • Cartons
  • Lids
  • Meat trays
  • Deli rounds
  • Knives, forks, and spoons
  • Splash sticks
  • Stirrers
  • Utensils
  • Portion cups
  • Cocktail picks
  • Chopsticks
  • Clamshells and other hinged or lidded containers
What types of businesses does the law affect?

Answer: Businesses required to comply include but are not limited to:

  • Full-service restaurants
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Cades
  • Delicatessens
  • Coffee shops
  • Grocery stores
  • Vending trucks
  • Booths
  • Carts
  • Home delivery services
  • Business or institutional cafeterias
Are there any exemptions to the ordinance?

Answer: There are several exemptions to the ordinance, including:

  • Prepackaged foods
  • Catering trays
  • Produce bags
  • Clear food wrap and shrink wrap
  • Containers for uniquely-shaped foods such as deviled eggs and cupcakes
  • Flexible plastic packaging used to preserve moisture and freshness such as for cookies
  • Hot meat item containers such as those for ribs and rotisserie chicken
  • Straws
  • Items receiving a one-year waiver
A food service product I use in my business cannot be replaced with a compostable alternative without costing my business a lot of time and money to replace. What can I do?

Answer: You can apply for a one-year waiver for a specific food service product. Upon sufficient proof by the applicant that the provisions of the new ordinance would create an undue hardship, a waiver would be granted for the specific product. This request must be submitted in writing to the City Manager on an annual basis.