DEL MAR–The Del Mar City Council voted unanimous March 4 to ban plastic straws and stirrers in the city. The ban becomes effective April 4.
The new ordinance move Del Mar closer to 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.
Last February, the city council also voted to ban expanded polystyrene, or styrofoam. In 2016, a city ordinance approved the removal of single-use plastic bags in the city.
Del Mar eateries will have an additional six months to comply with the ordinance. For now, they can offer paper, biodegradable or reusable straws to their customers but only upon request. The The ordinance also applies to vendors at the Del Mar Farmer’s Market. Vendors at the Del Mar Fairgrounds are exempted from the ordinance.
Plastics and petroleum-based styrofoam 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.
The Sustainability Advisory Board advises the Del Mar City Council on matters related to its environmental program.