New California law: Ketchup packets, plastic utensils will only be provided if requested

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Packets of Heinz ketchup are displayed with Burger King french fries on April 12, 2021 in San Anselmo, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Packets of Heinz ketchup are displayed with Burger King french fries on April 12, 2021 in San Anselmo, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Californians may start noticing their plastic forks and ketchup packets missing from their food orders next year.

The state is expanding on its existing law that allows restaurants to distribute single-use straws only upon request.

Now, take-out places can give consumers single-use condiment packages like ketchup and mustard and utensils like knives, forks and spoons only if asked.

Restaurants will have to start asking a drive-through customers if they want plastic foodware.

The restaurants will also have to list condiments and utensils on menus available to customers through third-party food delivery apps like DoorDash or Postmates.

Eateries are barred from bundling plastic utensils and condiment packets, so customers only can take items they need.

The legislation was authored by Democratic Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, whose district includes parts of northeast and East L.A. including Echo Park, Chinatown and Eagle Rock.

Local jurisdictions have until June 1, 2022, to authorize an agency to enforce the new requirements.

The new rules on single-use plastics are among numerous new laws designed to cut waste. One sets what advocates call the nation’s strictest standards for the “chasing arrows” recycling symbol. Another toughens regulations for what can be used in compost.

Yet what California regulators say is the “biggest change to trash in 30 years” comes from a law passed in 2016 that takes effect Jan. 1.

It requires local governments to provide organics recycling collection to all residents and businesses, and phases in a requirement for businesses and large food generators to donate unsold food to distribute to Californians in need.

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