San Diego City Council to hear proposed ban on foam-containers and single-use plastics
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Logan Byrnes spoke with San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward about a proposed ban on polystyrene and single use plastics.
The proposed ordinance would restrict the sale and distribution of polystyrene foam products for the use of food service ware, fish and meat trays, egg cartons, and coolers in the City of San Diego. Furthermore, the proposal would make single use plastic food ware, such as straws and utensils, available only upon request.
Polystyrene foam does not biodegrade, rather it photodegrades—breaking down into smaller pieces which are easily mistaken for food by marine wildlife. Polystyrene foam is also one of the most abundant forms of marine and terrestrial litter found along roadways and beaches—further increasing the risks to human and environmental health. In 2017 alone, the Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego Chapter collected 12,575 pieces of polystyrene foam from our beaches.
The proposed policy also extends to the retail sale of food ware that contains polystyrene foam, including plates, cups, and utensils. The use of polystyrene foam products would be restricted at City of San Diego parks and beaches to further prevent the material from reaching natural spaces or landfills. The threat of plastics to our environment extends beyond the use of polystyrene foam and includes single-use straws and utensils.
The proposed ordinance would require straws and plastic to-go utensils to be available to restaurant patrons only upon request. The intent of this policy is to provide consumers safe alternatives to polystyrene foam that will not cause harm to human health or our waterways, beaches, and oceans.
To assist businesses currently utilizing polystyrene foam products, the Environmental Services Department will provide a list of acceptable and affordable alternatives, as well as develop a process to phase implementation of this ordinance to limit impact on small businesses.
This proposal has support from organizations including the Surfrider Foundation San Diego, San Diego Coastkeeper, Business For Good San Diego, SanDiego350, Climate Action Campaign, Sierra Club San Diego, and the 5 Gyres Institute.