Del Mar considers ordinance against Styrofoam, non-reusable plastics

Del Mar has become the latest San Diego city to make a statement against non-recyclable plastics and Styrofoam as food service ware.

At its Nov. 19 meeting, the council introduced an ordinance regulating and prohibiting such materials to reduce pollution that is harmful to the environment and litters local beaches and the ocean. The council also directed City Manager Scott Huth to review a draft ordinance to prohibit the use of plastic straws and make non-plastic straws, such as those made out of paper, available only upon request.

The ordinance prohibits food providers from serving prepared foods to customers in disposable ware made of Styrofoam, otherwise known as expanded polystyrene (EPS), or non-recyclable plastics. The ordinance does not apply to single-use disposable food service items that are not used as food containers, such as straws, cup lids, utensils or single-use disposable packaging for unprepared foods.

According to a city document, many restaurants in Del Mar have already begun using alternatives to Styrofoam and non-recyclable plastic containers for take-home food service ware.

Similar city ordinances against EPS have been introduced or passed in Encinitas in 2016 and in San Diego earlier this year. The Del Mar Fairgrounds also prohibits the material from its property. In addition to its ban on single-use plastic and polystyrene food containers, Solana Beach, which began prohibiting Styrofoam in 2015, has also recently begun considering not allowing disposable plastic straws, stirrers, spoons, forks and knives.

The Del Mar ordinance would not go into effect until six months after adoption. Food service providers would have an additional six months to comply with the regulation.