Yes, items that do not have suitable alternatives on the market are exempt from the requirement to be fiber-based compostable. These materials are: hot liquid containers, cold cups, cup lids, soufflé cups (small cups typically used for samples or sauces), cutlery, grocery store pack-downs (kitchen prepared sides, sauces, and additions intended to have a longer shelf life than ready-to-eat take-out), and hot bar meal trays (containers used for storing ready-to-eat hot food often found at hot bars within grocery stores).
Any non-conforming disposable foodware item to be used in lieu of a conforming item - whether through exemption or waiver- must be recyclable through the City of Arcata recyclable collection program (plastics #1-7). In addition, businesses can request a waiver for certain materials if the owner or operator demonstrates that application of this section would create undue hardship or practical difficultly for that establishment. Waiver requests can be submitted to Arcata's Environmental Services Department at email@example.com