Code of the District of Columbia

§ 8–1531. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) "Accessory disposable food service ware" means any disposable food service ware, including straws, utensils, condiment cups and packets, cup sleeves, and napkins, that is not used to hold or contain food.

(1A) "Compostable" means:

(A) Made solely of materials that break down into, or otherwise become part of, usable compost in a safe and timely manner in an appropriate program; and

(B) Once the Mayor has published the list of compostable materials described in § 8-1031.03(b), identified on that list;

(1B) "Disposable food service ware" means containers, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, lids, straws, forks, spoons, knives, napkins, and other items that are designed for one-time use for beverages, prepared food, or leftovers from meals prepared by a food service entity. The term "disposable food service ware" shall not include items composed entirely of aluminum.

(2) "Expanded polystyrene" means blown polystyrene and expanded and extruded foams that are thermoplastic petrochemical materials utilizing a styrene monomer and processed by a number of techniques, including fusion of polymer spheres (expandable bead polystyrene), injection molding, foam molding, and extrusion-blow molding (extruded foam polystyrene).

(2A) "Expanded polystyrene container" means a container, such as a cooler or ice chest, made of expanded polystyrene that is not wholly encapsulated or encased within a more durable material.

(3) "Expanded polystyrene food service products" means food containers, plates, hot and cold beverage cups, meat and vegetable trays, egg cartons, and other products made of expanded polystyrene and used for selling or providing food.

(3A) "Expanded polystyrene packing material" means material, such as packing peanuts, made of expanded polystyrene used to hold, cushion, or protect items packed in a container for shipping, transport, or storage.

(4) "Food service entity" means full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, fast food restaurants, cafes, delicatessens, coffee shops, supermarkets, grocery stores, vending trucks or carts, food trucks, cafeterias, including those operated by or on behalf of District departments and agencies, and other entities selling or providing food within the District for consumption on or off the premises.

(5) "Recyclable" means made solely of materials that can be recycled using the District's recycling collection program and identified on the list of recyclable materials described in § 8-1031.03(b).

(6) "Retailer" means a person engaged in retail sales in the District.

(7) "Reusable food service ware" means containers, bowls, plates, trays, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, takeout containers, and other items used to contain and consume beverages and prepared food that are manufactured and designed to be washed and sanitized and used repeatedly over an extended period of time.

(8) "Third-party food ordering platform" means any website, mobile application, or other internet service that offers or arranges for the sale of food and beverages prepared by, and the delivery or pickup of food and beverages from, food service entities.

(9) "Third-party reusable food service ware providers" means entities that provide washed and sanitized reusable food service ware to food service entities for their use, either in packaging takeout or delivery orders or for on-site dining, and then recuperate the food service ware after use by customers for commercial wash and sanitation before providing the reusable food service ware for subsequent use by food service entities.


(Dec. 17, 2014, D.C. Law 20-142, § 401, 61 DCR 8045; Oct. 22, 2015, D.C. Law 21-36, § 6172(a), 62 DCR 10905; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 6034, 63 DCR 10775; Apr. 16, 2020, D.C. Law 23-76, § 2(a), 67 DCR 2488; Mar. 16, 2021, D.C. Law 23-211, § 3(a), 68 DCR 00068.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 21-36 substituted “prepared by a food service entity” for “prepared by a food service business” in (1); in (4), substituted “entity” for “business,” substituted “cafeterias” for “business or institutional cafeterias,” and substituted “and other entities” for “and other businesses”; and added (5).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 6172(a) of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-127, July 27, 2015, 62 DCR 10201).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-142: Section 502(f) of D.C. Law 20-142 provided that §§ 401, 402, and 406 of the act shall apply as of December 17, 2014.