SLO council votes unanimously for Styrofoam ban

June 3, 2015

styrofoam_1The 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.



  1. NorthCountyGuy says:

    Too many idiots with too much free time on their hands.

    (13) 13 Total Votes - 13 up - 0 down
  2. LameCommenter says:

    Carpenter, this will really cause a re-think of support for you. You sold out to a ban on a safe sensible legal convenient product. All you will get is a different product in any litter that the sloppy ones in the society toss. What are you nannies going to ban next ?

    (11) 15 Total Votes - 13 up - 2 down
  3. Slowerfaster says:

    Actually, ‘styrofoam’ is the wrong word to use. Styrofoam is a name brand owned by Dow Chemical, but no food or beverage containers are made from it.

    The polystyrene foam food containers, plates, and cups are made from a toxic substance derived from petroleum.
    Here’s an article on short and long term health effects by using these as food/drink receptacles:

    Will knowledge of this change any anti-banners opinions ?

    (-7) 25 Total Votes - 9 up - 16 down
    • Slowerfaster says:

      Isn’t it amazing, that one can post absolute facts, sourced material, and despite little or no editorial comment, there will be ‘negative Nancies’ with their ‘thumbs down’, but never a reply or rebuttal.

      (-7) 11 Total Votes - 2 up - 9 down
  4. Latte2Party says:

    Remember the outrage, the business doom and gloom sayers when the indoor smoking ban passed? Remember?

    (6) 24 Total Votes - 15 up - 9 down
    • justbeware says:

      No, I only remember thinking, THANK GOD!

      (5) 17 Total Votes - 11 up - 6 down
  5. Latte2Party says:

    We didn’t need a ban. Just make sure all Styrofoam containers have the business’ logo on it and they have to pay $1.50 for each one returned.

    (-5) 17 Total Votes - 6 up - 11 down
  6. achillesheal says:

    What will they ban next?

    People used to be up in arms when government banned things – like books. Now we celebrate when the city bans things they deem to be bad.

    How about a ban of SUVs in the city limits? What will they ban next?

    (3) 29 Total Votes - 16 up - 13 down
    • kayaknut says:

      How about we ban parasitic government employees?

      (26) 46 Total Votes - 36 up - 10 down
      • achillesheal says:

        We try to every election but new parasites take their place.

        (19) 25 Total Votes - 22 up - 3 down
        • Slowerfaster says:

          I would ban stupidity, but Americans love it too much, like any addiction.

          (8) 22 Total Votes - 15 up - 7 down
          • OnTheOtherHand says:

            There is a difference between gullibility and stupidity. People can be gullible and still reasonably intelligent — although not always about the same things.

            (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
        • zaphod says:

          get elected feel the love

          (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  7. Jorge Estrada says:

    I have learned that styrofoam left-overs usually die in the fridge and I need to eat less anyway. I’ll pretend that styrofoam cartoons never existed, this one is easy.

    (0) 16 Total Votes - 8 up - 8 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      Wait! Your telling me that SpongeBob SquarePants was a fake?!? I don’t know how to deal with that — maybe I can pretend he didn’t exist too.

      (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  8. No_More_Anger says:

    I’m sure the exception to the ban is marijana containers.

    (-4) 22 Total Votes - 9 up - 13 down
  9. FrankNBali says:

    Happy to hear this. In SFO and Alameda Counties business leaders in sustainability had a fit when these bans first began some years ago. Eventually it was a no brainier and great for the environment and business! Kudos #Slo!!

    (-13) 49 Total Votes - 18 up - 31 down

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