Culver City Moves To Ban Styrofoam

Local Business Would Suffer Increase Costs


December 15, 2016

The Culver City Council voted 5-0 to direct city staff to prepare an ordinance banning single-use polystyrene containers, also known as Styrofoam and other utensils at local restaurants.

Polystyrene is a petroleum based product that is used to make hard plastics or "expanded" by joining together small beads to create the finished product.

The council declined a move to ban retail stores from selling hard plastic ware, including cups, plates, cutlery and the like.

Should Culver City approve the ordinance it would join almost 100 other cities in the ban.

Forty Restaurants responded to the request by the city for input on the ban. According to staff all the restaurants were opposed to the ban. The survey included residents that overwhelmingly supported the ban.

Sandrine Cassidy, vice president of Ballona Creek Renaissance, a local nonprofit that helped to draft the proposal based on the ordinance passed by the City of Manhattan Beach played several videos showing the trash that ends up in the Santa Monica Bay, most of which they claim is from the Ballona Creek.

Members of Girl Scout Troop #15365 appeared before the council to argue in favor of the ban.

Despite claims polystyrene causes cancer the Food and Drug Administration claims polystyrene is safe for use in food containers.

Meanwhile, critics, including the California Grocers Association and the California Restaurant Association, have urged the city to focus on recycling efforts rather than an outright ban, noting the ban could hurt local businesses.

"Rather than banning a product that can easily be disposed of, in the proper receptacle, we support increased recycling and increased awareness of the need for recycling. Bans against food containers are an overreaction to a problem that can be solved in other ways. This ban represents yet another new cost increase for small businesses," the California Restaurant Association wrote in an emailed statement to KPCC.

The staff report estimates over 330 businesses would be affected by the ban, which includes restaurants, food trucks, hotels and motels, catering firms, farmers' markets, convenience stores, grocery stores and other retailers.

In the staff report the city estimates the cost to Culver City businesses could cost from $3,000 to $5,000 a year.

The Culver City Exchange Club requested the council to consider moving the Culver City car show from downtown Culver City to Veterans Park for next year due to construction on Parcel B in front of The Culver Studios. The move would be for 2017 with the show moving back to downtown in 2018.


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