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San Diego Ban on Polystyrene Foam - Restaurant Sign On
As a restaurant, cafe, and or bar manager/owner in the City of San Diego, I strongly support and encourage you to move forward with developing and approving an ordinance banning the sale and distribution of polystyrene foam products for the use of food service ware and include a provision for to-go utensils and straws only upon request.

Like other single-use plastics, polystyrene foam is a primary contributor to the pollution in our ocean, beaches, and waterways. It is rarely recycled, frequently littered, and never biodegrades. Lightweight polystyrene foam containers can blow out of trash cans and garbage trucks, otherwise making their way into our precious marine and coastal environments. Alarmingly, styrene is a known lab animal carcinogen and a reasonably anticipated human carcinogen.

Alternative proposals such as the City of San Diego’s curbside recycling program for polystyrene foam are not an acceptable solution. Due to food contamination, cleaning costs, and the products’ lightweight, recyclers that are accepting these products often divert them to landfills.

Our business has eliminated polystyrene food containers in favor of more environmentally careful alternatives and we have thrived regardless. The minor increase in cost to use alternative food ware containers has had no negative impact on our business. In fact, we believe that customer loyalty has only increased as a result of us providing more sustainable food ware containers. As a restaurant, we believe we have the responsibility to protect our coastal resources and environment by providing sustainable alternatives.

Additionally, plastic straws and utensils are one of the most common items littered and are detrimental to marine wildlife. A to-go utensils and straws only upon request policy will help reduce litter and their impact on marine life and our environment. Furthermore, it will save money for restaurants, cafes, and bars.

For the well-being of our environment, wildlife, human health, and our economy, it is time for San Diego to join 119 other California cities and counties in adopting a proven policy to phase out polystyrene and reduce other single-use plastics.

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