- The San Diego City Council's Environment Committee has delayed a decision on accepting polystyrene food containers for recycling and has ordered a new staff report on how to move forward, as reported by San Diego Patch.
- The city accepts expanded polystyrene packaging material, though consultants said food containers have been causing problems for the current recycling contractors. The necessary labor and equipment upgrades to deal with contamination issues could cost an estimated $290,000 per year.
- San Diego's recycling contracts expire in three years and this is seen as a good time to potentially renegotiate the inclusion of polystyrene containers.
Despite the delay, San Diego is still on track to accept the containers as it has a goal of diverting 75% of waste from the Miramar Landfill by 2020 and 90% by 2035. The city will also enact a plastic bag ban in April 2017, or potentially sooner pending the outcome of Proposition 67 which would establish a statewide ban, in an effort to reach these targets.
San Diego would join a growing list of cities that have banned polystyrene containers in some form which includes San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, Portland, ME, Minneapolis and others. A similar effort in New York was overturned by a court order last year, but many environmental advocates see this as the next step after banning plastic bags and the concept has caught on in London recently too.
Certain cities do accept polystyrene foam products for recycling and Dart Container has opened drop-off centers in many parts of the country. The Foam Recycling Coalition has also offered grants for new programs. Though the question of whether this material can be collected and processed cost-effectively in all markets is clearly still being debated.