SAN DIEGO -- The City of San Diego Rules Committee voted 3-2 Wednesday night, in favor of the single use plastic reduction ordinance.
Councilmembers Chris Ward, President Pro Tem Barbara Bry, and Myrtle Cole - who chairs the Rules Committee - voted in favor. Councilmembers Chris Kersey & Chris Cate voted against.
The proposed ban on polystyrene foam and restrictions on single use plastics in San Diego will now move to a full city council vote as early as September.
Representatives from Surfrider Foundation and several others spoke in support of the ordinance, which would place restrictions on the use of expanded polystyrene (commonly referred to as Styrofoam), and reduce the distribution of other types of single-use plastics in the city.
In 2017, Surfrider San Diego volunteers collected 12,575 pieces of styrofoam from San Diego beaches. Unfortunately, the majority is blown into the ocean because it is light in weight and easily breaks into tiny, uncollectible pieces, according to the Surfrider Foundation.
Once in the ocean, polystyrene is often mistaken as food by marine life and ingestion of the
single-use plastics can become fatal. Surfrider volunteers have successfully advocated for single-use plastic reduction ordinances of EPS in Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Imperial Beach.
“The Rules Committee took a significant step today by approving the Plastic Reduction Ordinance for a full city council vote,” said Michael Torti, Executive Committee Chair of Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego Chapter. “We ask our volunteers and members to contact their district city councilmember and declare their support for the proposed ordinance to ban polystyrene foam products and restrict the use of single use plastics.”
The ordinance would restrict the sale and distribution of polystyrene foam products for use as food serviceware, fish and meat trays, egg cartons, and coolers in the City of San Diego. Furthermore, the proposal would make single-use plastic foodware, such as straws and utensils, available only upon request.