With the City’s ban on Styrofoam and non-recyclable food service wares set to take effect June 3, a corps of volunteers hand-delivered information and resources last week to nearly three-dozen restaurants.
Volunteers from the City’s Sustainability Advisory Board and the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation encouraged restaurant owners to take advantage of marketing opportunities – and bragging rights – afforded to “ocean-friendly restaurants.”
An ocean-friendly eatery rejects expanded polystyrene, aka Styrofoam; provides only reusable tableware to onsite diners and provides takeaway utensils only upon request; follows proper recycling practices; offers no plastic bags, and with some exceptions, provides straws only upon request.
In Del Mar, a ban on plastic straws and stirrers becomes effective October 4.
Unanimously approved by the City Council in December and March, respectively, the Styrofoam and plastics bans are part of a larger effort to move Del Mar toward becoming a zero-waste city and to comply with state requirements to divert trash from landfills. Reducing solid waste and encouraging recycling also are goals of the City’s 2016 Climate Action Plan.
In 2016, the City banned single-use plastic bags.
Plastics and petroleum-based Styrofoam can take hundreds of years to degrade. When they find their way to the ocean, small pieces can be ingested by marine life. People can face health risks after eating seafood that has been exposed to plastic toxins. Degrading plastic in landfills can leach toxic chemicals into groundwater.
The Styrofoam ban applies to cups, food containers, thermal insulation and packaging. For the plastic straws and stirrers ban, eateries can offer paper, biodegradable or reusable straws but only upon request. For specifics on the bans, read the expanded polystyrene and plastic straws and stirrers ordinances.
Mary Arabatzis, owner of Beeside Balcony, said she is pleased that her suppliers offer take-away containers and straws that biodegrade. During a visit to the eatery on Camino del Mar, Arabatzis and Sustainability Advisory Board Member Ashley Mazanec discussed environmental best-practices.
The Sustainability Advisory Board advises the Del Mar City Council on matters related to its environmental program. Learn more on the Go Green Del Mar website.
Learn about Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program.