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Del Mar bans plastic straws

DEL MAR — Plastic straws will soon be no more in Del Mar, where the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance on March 4 to ban the usage of plastic straws and stirrers.

Restaurants will only be allowed to provide paper, biodegradable or reusable straws if requested by a customer.

The ban comes on the heels of a recently passed ordinance banning polystyrene (Styrofoam) and nonrecyclable plastic disposable food service ware in Del Mar. The city banned single-use plastic bags in 2016.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law in September 2018 — put in place Jan. 1 — that banned single-use plastic straws unless requested. Del Mar’s ordinance goes a step further, by banning them outright.

Other cities in the region may soon be following suit.

Restaurants will have six months after the ordinance goes into effect in April to ditch plastic straws, according to Ann Feeney, chair of the city’s Sustainability Advisory Board.

Feeney said the board’s members, in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, will be reaching out to local businesses to inform them of the ordinance.

Nine restaurants in Del Mar — including Jakes, Sbicca and Americana — are on the Surfrider Foundation’s “ocean friendly restaurants” list. This means they follow proper recycling practices, don’t use Styrofoam, only use reusable tableware on site, and only issue straws on request — to name a few.

According to Feeney, the idea of banning straws “didn’t take hold until much more recently.”

The move will help the city meet its Climate Action Plan goals, specifically for a waste diversion of 95 percent by 2035.

“It’s taking some solid waste away from landfills,” she said. “Plastics are particularly important because they never degrade … and they’re a major source of pollution in the water.”

The ordinance will become effective on April 4.

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