The first phase of the city of San Diego's ban on Styrofoam and other single-use plastics went into effect Saturday.
Restaurants will no longer be allowed to give out plastic utensils and straws unless a customer requested them. Fines for violating the law will be $200 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.
The ban is being rolled out in phases to allow small businesses time to obtain acceptable plastic foam, otherwise knowns as Styrofoam, and single-use plastic alternatives.
The next phase, which is slated to go into effect May 24, will ban the use of plastic foam egg carton and food containers.
Businesses with an annual income of less than $500,000 are exempt from both phases until Feb. 23, 2020.
San Diego became the largest city in the state of California to ban plastic foam products after the city council voted 6-3 to pass the restrictive ordinance on Jan. 8.
Restaurants can petition the department for a hardship waiver, which will be awarded on a case-by-case basis for restaurants that would have financial difficulty making the switch to alternative products.
Any restaurants that currently have a contract with styrofoam companies can petition the Environmental Services Department for a waiver so that agreements are not broken.