Solana Beach Bans Styrofoam Containers at Restaurants

The Solana Beach City Council voted Wednesday to ban Styrofoam at local restaurants in an effort to reduce products that hurt the environment.

Under the adopted ordinance, restaurants have six months to exhaust their supply of containers made of polystyrene, known better by the brand name Styrofoam.

Many local eatery owners attended the city council meeting Wednesday to voice their opposition, saying the switch to alternative containers will cost more money. According to the California Restaurant Association (CRA), a foam clamshell costs 8.5 cents, while a compostable clamshell made from sugar cane pulp will cost 29 cents.

They also argued that since most foam products are recyclable, the ban is unnecessary. The CRA suggested focusing on promoting recycling instead of a prohibition.

However, a council staff report cited a 2012 study that found the average cost between a polystyrene product and a non-foam alternative was one cent per unit.

According to the report, the Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of 63 food and beverage establishments in the area. The survey found that 18 still use Styrofoam containers.

Staff also pointed out in the report that Waste Management — which provides residential, curbside services — does not have a Styrofoam recycling program, though there is a commercial city program in place.

The Surfrider Foundation told NBC 7 it is happy about the vote, calling it a big victory for oceans and beaches.

Wednesday’s was the first reading of the ordinance. A second reading for adoption will take place in the next month or so. If again approved, the ban will go into effect in 30 days.

Exceptions to the ban will include food or products prepared or packaged outside of Solana Beach and polystyrene coolers and ice chests. Restaurants that can prove “undue hardships” caused by the ban could also be exempt.

The Solana Beach looked at similar bans in other California cities, such as San Francisco, Santa Monica and Dana Point, to formulate their rules.

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