Styrofoam products are on their way out in San Diego following City Council approval of an ordinance banning all single- use polystyrene foam food containers, utensils, coolers and pool toys effective next year. Mitch Silverstein, San Diego County policy manager for the Surfrider Foundation, said plastic foam products were the second-most found trash item on the region’s beaches, making up more than 14% of all litter picked up during the organization’s recent cleanup event.
San Diego is far from the first municipality to ban polystyrene products. A total of 130 other jurisdictions throughout the state have already passed bans, Los Angeles County’s will go into effect in December and the Los Angeles City Council will discuss a similar ordinance in December. In fact, of all of San Diego County’s coastal cities, only Oceanside will still allow its use once San Diego’s ban goes into effect in April 2023.
The council initially passed an ordinance banning polystyrene — commonly known as Styrofoam — products in 2019, but was then stymied in enforcement by a California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit brought forward by representatives of three local restaurants, the California Restaurant Association and Dart Container Corporation of California. Then-councilman Chris Ward, who is now an Assemblyman, began work on the ordinance in 2018.