Those small box-sized polystyrene containers, better known as Styrofoam, used for takeout food are officially banned in South Pasadena.
In November 2016, the City Council unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance to ban foam plates, cups, lids, and trays. City officials say the containers, comprised primarily of expanded polystyrene, are a major source of marine litter because the food packaging material does not biodegrade as well as organic products.
Throughout 2017, South Pasadena officials engaged in an educational campaign to allow business owners, mostly restaurants to transition away from polystyrene to reusable, recyclable, or compostable alternatives.
Over the final three months of the year, the city issued warnings for violations of the ordinance. However, on January 1, code enforcement was in a position to issue citations to violators. The ordinance affects any food provider that provides prepared food to its customers in disposable food service ware made of polystyrene.
A food provider, according to the ordinance:
1. A grocery store, supermarket, restaurant, drive-through, cafe, coffee shop, snack shop, public food market, farmers’ market, convenience store, or similar fixed place where prepared food is available for sale on the premises or for take-away consumption.
2. Any mobile store, food vendor, caterer, food truck, vending machine or similar mobile outlet. The Ordinance also applies to city-sponsored events, city co-sponsored events, city-managed concessions and city-permitted events.
3. The ordinance also bans the sale of polystyrene, including ice chests or coolers made of the material. An Expanded Polystyrene Foam Disposable Food Service Ware Ban FAQ Sheet is attached to this letter and is also available at www.SouthPasadenaCA.gov/Environmental.
More than 90 cities in state have adopted some sort of a polystyrene ban. Joining South Pasadena, bans have taken effect in Southern California cities including Pasadena, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. However, the polystyrene bans are different from city to city.