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Foam Food Container Ordinance

San José’s Foam Food Container Ordinance (fully effective as of January 1, 2015) requires all restaurants to use non-foam food service ware for both dine-in and takeout. This includes cups, bowls, plates, boxes, clamshells, and trays.

This ordinance aims to reduce a pervasive and persistent type of litter by banning food service ware made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, commonly referred to as Styrofoam™*. EPS foam is uniquely problematic when littered because it does not degrade. It breaks easily into tiny pieces, making it difficult to clean up. Those small pieces are often mistaken as food by fish and wildlife and are harmful to their health.

Visit the Foam Food Container Ordinance webpage for more information and resources.

*Although EPS is commonly referred to as “Styrofoam,” the trademarked material manufactured by Dow Chemical is not used for food containers.

Fats, Oils, & Grease Control

Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) enter the sanitary sewer through sinks, floor drains, dishwashers, and other kitchen equipment plumbed to the sanitary sewer. FOG and solid food waste entering your drains may cause blockages in either your plumbing or the sanitary sewer lines by building up along the walls of the pipes. This can lead to a sanitary sewer overflow inside your home, business, adjacent buildings, streets, or the environment. These spills are a safety hazard that can endanger public health and impact the health of our creeks and Bay.

The US EPA and the State of California have identified FOG as a pollutant of concern and require collection system agencies to develop and administer Sewer System Management Plans (SSMPs). The FOG Control Program is one element required in the SSMP.

Control Program

The goal of the FOG Control Program is to reduce the amount of FOG being discharged into the sanitary sewer.

Title 15.14 of the San José Municipal Code gives the FOG Control Program authority to administer a successful program in San José.

The FOG Control Program requirements are implemented and enforced through plan checks, inspections, and education. Inspections are unannounced and occur during business hours. Inspectors will ask to see documentation indicating the food service facility is managing its FOG correctly, will inspect indoor and outdoor areas and review cleaning practices with staff. Upon completion, a written Inspection Report will be provided and, if needed, inspectors will conduct a follow-up inspection to verify that all violations are corrected. Uncorrected, repeated, and/or serious violations will result in escalated enforcement, up to and including fines.

Best Practices and Educational Materials

The FOG Control Program has developed a large variety of educational materials, available in multiple languages, which inspectors use to educate businesses on pollution prevention and FOG management. Additionally, inspectors are available to answer any of your questions. If you are searching for an answer to a specific question, please see our Frequently Asked Questions section, email us, or call one of our inspectors at (408) 945-3000.

Grease Pumpers and Haulers

The following grease pumpers and haulers have participated in a training which covered ordinance requirements for grease control device maintenance and documentation. This list is provided as a courtesy, and is not a complete list of all the suppliers of this type of service. It is the responsibility of the person who is hiring any of these companies to verify their qualifications and references as well as their compliance with regulations on handling and transporting wastes. It is in no way implied or understood that the City of San José Environmental Services Department endorses these companies or their quality of work.

Company Phone Number Website
A-1 Septic Tank Services (510) 886-4455
All Valley Environmental, Inc. (559) 498-8378
Baker Commodities (559) 846-9393
Burr Plumbing & Pumping (408) 287-2877 Not available.
Darling International (800) 473-4890
Estradas Grease Service (209) 230-4769  Not available.
Grease Trap Cleaners, LLC  (510) 375-2622
Liquid Environmental Solutions (510) 266-5719
Roto-Rooter (408) 987-0464
SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel (800) 447-3794
SRC Pumping (916) 363-1342

Dish, Mop, and Wash Water

Local and state stormwater pollution prevention regulations require that only rainwater enter the storm drains. Storm drains flow untreated into local waterways. All facilities are required to put mop and wash water into the sanitary sewer, never into the storm drain. Wash water from washing activities may have soaps, toxic chemicals, heavy metals, oil, grease, and other pollutants which should never be put into a storm drain.

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