San Diego officials proposed banning polystyrene food and drink containers Thursday, potentially becoming the 117th city in California to ban the foam packages, the Los Angeles Times reports.
City Councilman Chris Ward is leading the push to ban polystyrene to “get the plastics out of our oceans and out of our streams.”
“It’s time San Diego joins over a hundred cities throughout California that have already banned these harmful environmental pollutants and moves forward toward a more sustainable future,” Ward said, according to NBC 7 San Diego.
Restaurants are arguing against the ban, saying it will raise prices on customers without accomplishing any of the environmental goals city officials are aiming for.
“A ban would only create more mixed paper and would do nothing to help the environment, reduce landfill waste or actually create solutions for a more stable and thriving recycling industry,” Chris Duggan, the California Restaurant Association’s director of local government affairs for the San Diego chapter, told the LA Times in an email.
Polystyrene is not biodegradable, it instead “photodegrades” in nature, breaking up into smaller pieces that marine animals mistakenly eat. Polystyrene has been blamed for toxic chemicals found in seafood, according to Fox 5 San Diego.
“A proposed ban only harms the small business owner and will not reduce waste,” San Diego’s Chamber of Commerce said, according to NBC 7. “We need sensible solutions that modernize and stimulate investment of our domestic recycling infrastructure.”
The proposal bans the sale and use of polystyrene and fines violators $200 for a first offense, $350 for a second offense within a year of the first and $500 for a third offense within a year.
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