As It Happens

Drought-hit California city orders restaurants to serve on disposable plates

Fort Bragg enacted the measure in response to a drought emergency, but some restaurant owners are refusing to comply.
Susan Larson says she'll defy dish-washing ban in Fort Bragg, CA. (Susan Larson / Chris Harbord)

These days, eating out in Fort Bragg, California can feel less like fine dining and more like a backyard BBQ.

Because of the extreme drought, city council has ordered restaurants to serve food and drink using only disposable plates, cups, and utensils.

Susan Larson owns Fort Bragg's aptly named 'The Restaurant.' She tells As It Happens co-host Carol Off that she will defy the rule:

"I felt I really just had to take a stand on it and say 'no, I'm not going to comply.' I'm resisting. I want an exemption."

Larson says the city's order doesn't take into account the relatively small amount of water she uses to wash dishes, and what it will cost her to buy disposable plates and utensils.

She's also concerned about the mountains of waste the measure will generate -- which will have to be trucked to landfills. 

"I believe that they came up with that idea without any forethought, without any investigation into how much water is actually used."

The emergency order from the city came after the city's main water source, the Noyo River, became so low that salty water backed up in the city's pumping station.

Fort Bragg city council has agreed to re-visit the order at a meeting next Tuesday. 



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