Palm Springs' plastic ban could stretch to more than just straws

City council to discuss ban this week

Palm Springs to discuss plastics ban

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Palm Springs city council is expected to discuss a potential ban on single-use plastic foodware items in its meeting Wednesday. 

The city's sustainability commission passed a motion in December recommending a ban on certain plastic and styrofoam items: 

"Food or beverage products supplied by commercial food providers shall not be sold, packaged, distributed, or consumed with food service ware made of EPS foam, rigid polystyrene #6, and non-recyclable and noncompostable material in the City of Palm Springs."

The commission also recommended the development of an ordinance banning all non-recyclable items like plastic straws and single-use food and beverage containers. 

Ristretto coffee shop in downtown Palm Springs ditched plastic straws a year ago. 

"To start with we went to a paper straw and recently we have switched to a sip lid that is strawless," said Richard LaFerriere, the shop's manager. "There is a little bit of additional cost when you switch to paper or biodegradable straw, but it's better for the environment and it was a simple thing for us to make a change."

Palm Springs Councilmember Christy Holstege discussed why the ban would cover more than just straws. "Straws are important but they're a small percentage of the plastic waste that is affecting our community," she said. "Using glass and metal -- I think that's the way to go and Palm Springs can be on the forefront."

Holstege said this is just the first step in opening a dialogue about the issue.

"We really want to be business friendly so we're bringing this forward as a discussion item, not to lay down the law, but really ask businesses, 'What are you currently doing; how can we help you be more sustainable; how can we help you reduce plastic waste?'" 

Ristretto expressed concern abuot their to-go items, which make up between 60- and 70-percent of their business. 

"Everything in our case is a single use plastic," LaFerriere said. "It's all recyclable." 

He said he was also concerned about the financial impact on people.

"We really need to make sure we're not doing things that disproportionaly affect people that maybe can't afford to have their own fancy cup that they bring into the coffee shop." 

City leaders said they're looking into incentives for businesses to help offset the costs of moving away from plastics, so that consumers aren't paying for the upcharge. 

It's all set to be discussed at Wednesday night's city council meeting.


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