Paso Robles City Council takes further action on Styrofoam ban
—The Paso Robles City Council has further addressed a potential Styrofoam ban at their meeting on June 19, in which the council decided to revisit a citywide ban if a future countywide ban by the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA) is not approved or is inconsistent with the city’s goals.
In June 2015, the city council passed an ordinance dealing with regulation of Styrofoam products and in July 2017, the city council had decided to take no action for an ordinance on banning Styrofoam products. However, due to a presentation by Paso Robles High School students and concerns from the community at the March 20 meeting, the Council decided to bring the topic back into consideration at a future meeting. During this time, the IWMA voted 11-2 on May 14 to place a potential Styrofoam ban on their Sept. 12 meeting agenda. If the IWMA implements a county-wide Styrofoam ban ordinance, then Paso Robles would not need to create a separate ordinance unless the IWMA’s ordinance is not what the city desires from a Styrofoam ban.
There are currently over 100 California cities that ban Styrofoam products, including all cities within San Luis Obispo County except Atascadero and Paso Robles. However, the latter council’s have recently heard public input and presentations regarding the dangers of Styrofoam products and the benefits of a ban.
If the ban were to go into effect, there may be a 30 day to a year period to switch over to non-Styrofoam alternative packing as seen in multiple city ordinances. There are exemptions to this ban, including if businesses would experience “undue hardship” in the lack of alternative products for a specific length of time or if food in Styrofoam packing is from outside the city.
Community input, student presentations and research in support of the ban focused on the damaging environmental impacts of Styrofoam products, such as how they are not biodegradable and “comprise 80-90 percent of all floating marine debris”, according to the Council Agenda Report.