SLO council votes unanimously for Styrofoam ban
June 3, 2015
The San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place a ban on Styrofoam food and drink containers. [Tribune]
The ordinance will prohibit restaurants from giving Styrofoam containers to customers. It will also ban the retail sale of Styrofoam food and drink containers that are not encased with a more durable material.
Additionally, the ordinance will require food and drink providers that use disposable containers to distribute cups and cartons that are recyclable, compostable and biodegradable. The Styrofoam ban will take effect six months after the final approval of the ordinance, which will likely take place at a council meeting later this month.
When the ordinance takes effect, it will trigger an additional six-month warning period. After that, violators will face administrative fines, though first time offenders could be forgiven if they purchase acceptable products to replace Styrofoam containers.
At Tuesday’s meeting Councilman Dan Carpenter changed his position on the Styrofoam ban. Last September, Carpenter said that he was concerned with overregulation and that the county Integrated Waste Management Authority should take up the issue rather than the city.
On Tuesday, Carpenter said businesses will face hardships, but they will adapt over time. He also said he wished the ordinance would apply countywide.
Carpenter is currently running for a seat on the county board of supervisors.
Once the ordinance is formally adopted, San Luis Obispo will become the first city in the county to ban Styrofoam products. More than 80 cities in California have enacted similar bans.
Only one member of the public spoke out against the ban during the council meeting. Noe Nino, the owner of Chilie Peppers on Foothill Boulevard, said he runs his business on very low margins of savings and will now have to be really cost conscientious.
Ten other members of the public spoke at the meeting. They each supported the ordinance.
Businesses that can prove it is unaffordable or impossible to obtain alternatives to Styrofoam containers can apply for a one-year exemption. The Styrofoam ban also exempts food packaged outside the city, meat and fish trays, construction materials, reused packing materials and items related to health and safety.