Solana Beach moves forward to ban Styrofoam - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Solana Beach moves forward to ban Styrofoam

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SOLANA BEACH (CBS 8) - On Wednesday, the Solana Beach City Council took a major step forward to become the first city in San Diego County to ban Styrofoam, despite opposition from some restaurant owners. 

Solana Beach was the first city to ban plastic bags in San Diego County, and after the first reading approval by the council members, the coastal town is on track to be the first to ban Styrofoam. 

Council members voted 4 to 1, to move forward with the ban. 

"I am not totally against it. I just think the impact on the business. If we have to work with them, we will," said Cecelia Robledo, Robertos Mexican Food owner. 

According to Robledo, a pack of 800 Styrofoam containers at a local shop is $8.50. Alternatives are double the price, and for less. She said she does not want to pass on a fee to customers, but it may have to happen. 

"If we charged any fees, it would be to support this extra expense for us," she said. 

"Polystyrene products are not recyclable. They are not biodegradable," said Michael Torti with the San Diego Surfrider Foundation

Styrofoam is most commonly used in to-go containers at restaurants.

"Styrofoam containers help insulate the heat and the cold," says Edwin Song, manager of Samurai Japanese Restaurant in Solana Beach.

Edwin is the third generation in the family-owned business. There are several small businesses that are opposed to the Styrofoam restriction. Song says banning it and switching to recyclable plastic or paper would increase costs up to three or four times. He also says that the other options are not as safe for sushi.

However, Solana Beach says this is an environmental concern.

Currently, 90 others cities in California have banned polystyrene, citing research that each container would cost one to two cents more and restaurants are not going out of business.

In 2011, a statewide Styrofoam ban failed. 

The Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce reported that roughly one-in-four businesses still use Styrofoam.

Michael says polystyrene or Styrofoam is one of the top four pieces of garbage found on beaches. According to the environmental group San Diego Coast Keeper, 20,000 pieces of Styrofoam are found on beaches each year.

"I think it's important that the city council sets the precedent," said Michael.

The only exemption to the proposed Styrofoam ban is ice chests. The restriction would also include packing peanuts in the city limits. 

Wednesday night's approval needs to be finalized at the next City Council meeting and would go into effect in six months. 

The Encinitas City Council had also planned to put the Styrofoam ban on Wednesday night's first reading, like Solana Beach, but the Council tabled the plan.

A staff member said they plan to bring it back, and could be approved by the end of the year. 

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