County supervisors set in motion a potential environmental ordinance that would ban polystyrene, or Styrofoam food and beverage containers, in businesses in unincorporated Contra Costa County. The proposed law would possibly go into effect sometime in May 2019.
On a 5-0 vote supervisors directed the county Public Works Department officials to develop the ordinance that would resemble as much as possible a mish-mashed compilation of banned polystyrene ordinances now enforced in 10 Contra Costa cities. Cities with some form of a polystyrene ban ordinance in place include Richmond, San Pablo, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek, Pinole, Lafayette, Pittsburg, Hercules, Concord and Martinez.
While the banned use of polystyrene food containers applies in all 10 cities, the ban sale of food containers is barred only in Richmond, San Pablo, Pinole and Pittsburg. Prohibiting the sale of packing peanuts is enforced only in Richmond, San Pablo, and Pittsburg.
As a result, crafting a county-wide ordinance banning polystyrene will be a difficult task.
“According to the US EPA, local governments in California spend as much as $411 million each year to prevent plastic food packaging and other commonly littered items from ending up on streets, storm drains, beaches, rivers and the ocean,” wrote Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, in a November 6 letter to the supervisors.
The Bay Area counties of Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marina, and Sonoma already have polystyrene ban ordinances in place.
Dominic Williams of Save the Bay encouraged the supervisors to move forward in developing the ban on polystyrene food and beverage containers.
“There are 117 ordinances in place in California banning polystyrene products,” Williams said. “Polystrene is the type of product that never biodegrades.”
“Polystrene is not only an environmental issue, but it is an economic issue. We pay more for what goes into the land fill,” said District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood.
“We believe that imposing a ban on polystyrene will do little to reduce overall litter within the County of Contra Costa. Focusing on one product is a discriminatory approach, and has proven to be ineffective,” wrote Allison Piccoli, Director of Local Government Affairs for the California Restaurant Association, which opposes the ban.
David Twa Named Top County CEO In California
Contra Costa County Administrator David Twa was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award from the California Association of County Executives at the association’s conference in San Diego held on Dec. 1-2.
The award is handed out for outstanding and meritorious work to a Chief Administrative Officer or Chief Executive Officer who has demonstrated respected leadership, shown exemplary work to benefit the community through long term positive results, and serves as a role model for others in cities, counties, and the state.
“We are proud to celebrate our county administrator David Twa’s selection as CAO of the year,” said Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Mitchoff. “We are fortunate to have David’s leadership in Contra Costa and so pleased that he has received this well-deserved award.”