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Posted on: March 5, 2019

Del Mar bans plastic straws and stirrers

plastic straws

Plastic straws and stirrers will no longer be allowed in Del Mar after a unanimous vote of the City Council on March 4. With the council’s action, Del Mar’s ban on straws and stirrers (PDF) becomes effective April 4.

Another ban – on expanded polystyrene, or Styrofoam (PDF) – became effective last month.

In 2016, the City banned single-use plastic bags.

The 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.

The ubiquitous plastics and petroleum-based Styrofoam can be harmful on many levels.

The materials can take hundreds of years to degrade and 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.

Del Mar’s ordinance states that eateries can offer paper, biodegradable or reusable straws but only upon request. The new ban will become effective in April, but businesses will have an additional six months to comply.  The rules for Styrofoam apply to vendors at the Del Mar Farmer’s Market. Vendors at the Del Mar Fairgrounds are not covered by the rules. Other exemptions are provided in the ordinances.

Neighboring cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas banned expanded polystyrene in 2015 and 2018, respectively. The City of San Diego approved its ban in 2018.

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.

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