Huge adjustments could also be coming this spring for a lot of San Diego eating places and retail shops, as a result of metropolis officers say they plan to comply with via on a long-delayed ban on polystyrene foam meals containers, coolers, pool toys and comparable merchandise.
Metropolis officers stated the ban, which has been delayed practically 4 years by litigation filed by eating places and foam container corporations, will take impact April 1 if the Metropolis Council approves it throughout a listening to scheduled for Nov. 15.
Prospects for approval acquired a lift Thursday when the council’s Setting Committee voted 4-0 in favor of the ban, with Councilmember Joe LaCava saying “San Diego is able to say goodbye to Styrofoam.”
The town’s transfer was praised Thursday by a number of environmental teams, who burdened that foam merchandise poison marine life and injury the well being of people that eat seafood.
Such foam, typically bought below the model identify Styrofoam, isn’t biodegradable and constantly breaks into steadily smaller items, which permits it to enter native waterways and simply get consumed by wildlife.
The San Diego regulation would additionally make it unlawful for eating places and supply companies to distribute plastic utensils or straws until clients request them.
Councilmember Marni von Wilpert stated she would assist San Diego finally banning plastic straws fully.
Councilmember Jennifer Campbell stated she’d prefer to take away an exemption for foam physique boards, contending foam from the boards nonetheless often leads to the ocean regardless of protecting coating designed to stop that.
However neither of these ideas is a part of the laws the council will think about subsequent month.
The proposed metropolis regulation would apply to egg cartons, coolers, ice chests, pool toys, dock floats and mooring buoys. Residents wouldn’t be capable of use these merchandise, and retail shops wouldn’t be capable of promote them.
San Diego would be a part of greater than 130 different California cities with bans on polystyrene, together with Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Seaside, Del Mar and Imperial Seaside.
San Diego would additionally grow to be the biggest metropolis in California to ban foam. Los Angeles metropolis officers say they plan to enact an identical ban this 12 months. San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland have already got bans.
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Practically all nationwide and regional restaurant chains way back stopped utilizing polystyrene in response to lobbying from environmental teams and backlash from clients involved that foam isn’t biodegradable.
However many taco retailers, pizza parlors, comfort shops and different small companies proceed to make use of foam merchandise to save cash.
To melt the influence on these companies, San Diego’s proposed ban consists of delays and hardship exemptions.
Companies with annual revenue of lower than $500,000 wouldn’t must adjust to the ban for the primary 12 months after it takes impact, which might possible give them till April 2024.
There are additionally hardship exemptions for companies that both can’t discover any affordable different to polystyrene or have entered into long-term contracts for non-compliant merchandise earlier than the brand new metropolis regulation takes impact.
Metropolis officers stated they’ll take an education-first method with companies, with enforcement and fines coming solely after warnings and makes an attempt to get companies into compliance.
San Diego is reviving its foam ban, which was initially adopted in January 2019, after litigation pressured metropolis officers to conduct a complete evaluation of the ban’s potential environmental results.
The evaluation reached the conclusion predicted by metropolis officers and lots of environmentalists: The environmental advantages of banning the froth far outweigh a slight enhance in truck air pollution brought on by the change from foam to heavier paper merchandise.
The lawsuit, filed by the California Restaurant Affiliation and one of many nation’s largest producers of froth takeout containers, advised a research was wanted to find out whether or not the environmental injury that may very well be brought on by a change to paper may outweigh the environmental advantages of the change.
As an alternative of preventing in courtroom, San Diego officers agreed to conduct an evaluation. San Diego was the primary and solely metropolis in California to have its polystyrene ban legally challenged. Supporters of the ban say San Diego was singled out as a result of it’s such a big metropolis.
San Diego’s ban would complement new state laws relating to foam and straws, metropolis officers stated.
SB 54 restricts the distribution of polystyrene foam within the state beginning in 2025 if the recycling charge of the fabric doesn’t exceed 25 p.c by then. AB 1276 restricts the distribution of single-use utensils and condiment packets.
For particulars on the town’s ban, go to sandiego.gov/environmental-services/recycling/pf-ban.