On February 21, 2012, the Dana Point City Council voted to ban the use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) disposable food service ware within Dana Point (DPMC 12-03). EPS products, more commonly known as Styrofoam™, are designed to be disposable and, therefore, have a useful life of only minutes or hours. Yet, it takes several decades to hundreds of years for EPS to deteriorate in the environment or landfill. Instead, it merely breaks down into smaller pieces that litter the City's streets, parks, open spaces, beaches and ocean waters and endanger birds and sea life that mistake the EPS for pieces of food. Ingestion of EPS can result in reduced appetite and nutrient absorption and death by starvation in the animals that consume the debris.
While EPS is technically, "recyclable", there is, to date, no meaningful recycling of EPS due to high food contamination rates and a very weak market to clean, handle and process the material. Alternative products, which are biodegradable, reusable and/or recyclable are readily available at a reasonable cost.
EPS waste that is introduced to waterbodies from both direct and indirect sources negatively impacts the overall quality of our beaches and ocean waters. EPS waste is a major component in the overall make up of beach and marine debris and is visible form of pollution. Birds and marine animals often perish as a result of ingesting polystyrene products mistaken as food. Deterioration in the quality of the City's streets, beaches and ocean waters threatens the public's health, safety and welfare and negatively affects tourism and the local economy.
The City of Dana Point has a duty to protect the natural environment for present and future generations and joins nearly 50 other California cities in banning the use of EPS single-use food service ware at food businesses within the City. The EPS ban and Ordinance reflects Dana Point's proactive approach to coastal stewardship by implementing policies that maintain our legacy as the most beautiful, desirable and safest coastal community in which to live, work, visit, play or conduct business.
For more information on the EPS Food Service Ware Ban, please click on the links below: