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Polystyrene ban in San Diego County previously on hold now being revisited

San Diego tried to ban polystyrene back in 2019 but then that plan was put on hold. Now the idea is back and this time, it looks like the ban will happen.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The Styrofoam ban was first mandated in the City of San Diego back in 2019. However, a lawsuit put that on hold, but some restaurants decided to make the switch back then.

"What we wanted to do was dovetail with the right thing to do,” said Johny Rivera, owner of the Great Maple. “It's going to be better for everybody,"

As it turns out, the ordinance is still on hold.

"As we were preparing to implement the ordinance, the city was sued regarding the ordinance," said Ken Prue, with the City of San Diego Environmental Services.

Rivera says the cost can be 3 to 4 times.

"It's a difference, 6 cents and 28 cents depending on the container, Styrofoam is going to be 3 to 6 cents," said Rivera.

To satisfy the lawsuit, the city agreed to do an environmental impact report on transporting Styrofoam vs biodegradable.

"What the environmental impacts are on delivering the packages with trucks and the emissions that tend to weigh slightly more," said Heidi Vonblum, the Deputy Director of the Planning for the City of San Diego.

The report that came out in early November showed there would be a slight increase. Now public comments will be taken until January 24, 2022.

"We in the planning department will take the comments and respond,” said Vonblum. “Then the final report will go before the City Council in late spring and the council will decide to re-adopt the ban."

For Rivera, he sees how it will impact some.

"Where it really hurts is the small businesses, it's really cutting into their net line," said Rivera.

He's just hoping the industry can look to the future.

"Ultimately, we have to move on if we want an environment."

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