Environment

Get ready, Grover Beach — a Styrofoam ban is coming your way

Expanded polystyrene products are banned in San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande.
Expanded polystyrene products are banned in San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande. Joe Tarica

Grover Beach is prepped to become the fifth city in San Luis Obispo County to ban Styrofoam products, with plans put in place to prohibit businesses from using or selling it by summer.

The City Council unanimously approved a ban on expanded polystyrene products (Styrofoam is the more commonly used brand name) at its meeting Monday. The ordinance will now need to come back to the city for a second reading at a meeting later this month before it goes into effect.

San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande have all enacted similar bans in recent years.

“I’m really happy to be the fifth city here,” Councilwoman Mariam Shah said during discussion.

Expanded polystyrene, a foam material commonly used to hold food products, is non-biodegradable and can break down into small pieces that litter storm drains, waterways, beaches and the ocean.

The ban will prohibit its use for prepared food and requires food providers to use biodegradable, compostable or recycled food containers instead. It also prohibits vendors and event promoters from selling or providing Styrofoam products.

It also applies to grocery stores and other retailers, meaning you probably won’t be seeing those large packets of foam plates and cups on shelves much longer.

The city will allow exemptions based on hardship if a business can demonstrate that it would be fiscally difficult for them to immediately switch to a more environmentally friendly option.

If approved at its next meeting Jan. 22, the ordinance would go into effect July 22, giving local businesses time to use and/or get rid of their expanded polystyrene products.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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