South City the latest to follow suit on Styrofoam ban

South San Francisco could soon join a growing list of Bay Area cities jumping on the Styrofoam-ban bandwagon.

Mayor Pedro Gonzalez said he has made a ban of Styrofoam containers the first order of business in 2008. Millbrae became the first city in San Mateo County to ban Styrofoam after city officials passed an ordinance in October 2007, and San Francisco required food vendors who sell prepared food to use compostable or recyclable to-go containers in June 2007.

Late last year, South City sent out notices to local businesses and made public announcements warning residents that a Styrofoam ban will soon be discussed by the City Council.

Director of Economic and Community Development Marty Van Duyn said the City Council will begin hearings next month on a possible ban and will determine whether the ban will target local shops and restaurants or bigger providers of Styrofoam containers such as Costco.

“We have to start [realizing] that we can do without certain things like plastic and Styrofoam,” said Gonzalez, who is in his second term as mayor.

The Styrofoam ban idea follows on the heels of many environmentally conscious ideas in South San Francisco. In 2007, South San Francisco entered into an agreement with San Mateo County to conduct an inventory of how much greenhouse gas emissions it produces to help the county reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

The city plans to put in solar panels and electric charging stations in its downtown parking garage, Gonzalez said. The Community Center at Orange Park is built with some recycled materials, he said.

The mayor also plans to hold informational meetings where the city can learn more about uses and costs of solar energy. He is even considering following in the footsteps of San Francisco in banning plastic bags.

“We have to get on that also, we just have to have cooperation of the people,” he said. “Our lives are easier every time something is invented, but in the long run, it hurts us. We got rid of the glass bottles because we didn’t want to wash them, and now plastic is affecting us.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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