Styrofoam merchandise are on their approach out in San Diego following Tuesday’s metropolis council approval of an ordinance banning all single-use polystyrene foam meals containers, utensils, coolers and pool toys efficient subsequent 12 months.
In keeping with a workers presentation at Tuesday’s assembly, whereas Styrofoam merchandise are accepted within the metropolis’s blue recycling bins, it’s troublesome to discover a market prepared to recycle them, and so they usually are despatched to the landfill — in the event that they don’t break up into tiny items and get into the area’s setting first.
“I’m afraid to stay in a world the place the oceans are dying,” 17-year-old UC San Diego pupil Hela Khalil stated on the assembly. “That’s why I’m urging these of you in energy to take motion now, in order that I, together with different youth, don’t need to stay in a world ravaged by local weather change.”
In keeping with a report by metropolis workers, the plastic polystyrene is “a menace to the setting in San Diego as litter in our canyons, streets, waterways, and seashores. Polystyrene foam blows within the wind and floats on water, the place it may be ingested by birds, fish, and different organisms.”
Mitch Silverstein, San Diego County coverage supervisor for the Surfrider Basis, stated plastic foam merchandise have been the second-most discovered trash merchandise on the area’s seashores, making up greater than 14% of all litter picked up through the group’s current cleanup occasion.
San Diego is way from the primary municipality to ban polystyrene merchandise. A complete of 130 different jurisdictions all through the state have already handed bans, Los Angeles County’s will go into impact in December and the Los Angeles Metropolis Council will talk about an identical ordinance in December. In reality, of all of San Diego County’s coastal cities, solely Oceanside will nonetheless permit its use as soon as San Diego’s ban goes into impact in April 2023.
The council initially handed an ordinance banning polystyrene — generally referred to as Styrofoam — merchandise in 2019, however was then stymied in enforcement by a California Environmental High quality Act lawsuit introduced ahead by representatives of three native eating places, the California Restaurant Affiliation and Dart Container Company of California. Then-councilman Chris Ward, who’s now an Assemblyman, started work on the ordinance in 2018.
Within the settlement settlement to that go well with, the town agreed to organize an environmental impression report beneath the California Environmental High quality Act. An abridged model of the report was introduced together with a request to repeal the unique ordinance after which re-adopt the Single Use Plastic Discount Ordinance on Tuesday.
Daniel Brunton, a lawyer representing Dart and different chemical firms, requested the council to not be too hasty in banning the product, citing a research that claims polystyrene helps stop the expansion of microbes and scale back food-borne sickness attributable to its chemical construction.
The council wasn’t moved, passing the ordinance 7-1, with Councilman Chris Cate the lone no vote and Councilwoman Vivian Moreno absent on maternity depart.
Councilwoman Marni von Wilpert was irked that the ordinance was beforehand stopped by massive firms utilizing a CEQA go well with, which she stated are meant to assist the setting. She stated the council ought to start work instantly on a associate ordinance to ban plastic straws from the town as nicely.
Opponents of the ordinance included enterprise homeowners corresponding to restaurateurs who imagine the ban will impose further prices on their companies. Jennifer Ott, an environmental specialist for the town, stated a lot of the town’s work can be schooling for enterprise homeowners, together with providing different merchandise to Styrofoam.
Moreover, the ordinance has language indicating there shall be delays and hardship exclusions for small companies and eating places.
“To help small companies in making a profitable transition, there can be a 12-month exemption for entities with lower than $500,000 in annual earnings,” the town report on the ordinance reads.
Metropolis Information Service contributed to this text.