Plastic Plate Rules Lifted in Fort Bragg

A controversial water-saving measure forcing Fort Bragg restaurants to use disposable plates and cutlery has been scrapped by the city council after complaints from local businesses. In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the council approved a modified version of the Sept. 30 law which encourages the use of disposable dishware, rather than making it compulsory.

“I agree that one size doesn’t fit all,” said Council Member Scott Deitz. He and his colleagues heard from around a dozen small business owners and residents about how the regulations may affect them. One restaurant owner called the requirements “discriminatory,” while others said the added costs would simply be too difficult to manage over time.

The initial requirements were part of a Stage 3 emergency order declared in the city last month after the Noyo River got so low that water began leaking into city pipes.

“The Noyo is a critical component of our water supply, and it is too salty to use. The flows are so low, it’s off charts,” Fort Bragg City Manager Linda Ruffing said at the time. “We have to lower our water use to the absolute minimum.”

While restaurants will now return to dishwashing as usual, some business owners said the water conservation attempt had at least raised awareness about the scope of the city’s water problems. 

Read more about the recent vote here.

Image Credit: Flickr User uberculture, via (CC BY 2.0)