SAN DIEGO — San Diego’s City Council voted 7-1 to ban single-use Styrofoam citywide, including food containers, utensils, beach toys and coolers.

“San Diego is ready to say goodbye to Styrofoam,” Councilmember Joe LaCava said.

“Styrofoam, first of all, doesn’t break down easily and can last for hundreds if not thousands of years,” SDSU Professor and Co-Pi with the Southern California Energy Innovation Network, Erlinde Cornelis said.

“We really owe it to our ocean, our beach, our waves and millions of people who love our coastline,” the Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego County Policy Coordinator, Mitch Silverstein said.

The Surfrider Foundation has been working toward this moment for more than a decade.

“Sixteen years of local beach cleanup data doesn’t lie, its the second most common item we find along our coastline, other than cigarette butts,” Silverstein said.

This wasn’t the first time the city council voted on this ban. In 2019, the city council approved the ordinance, but the implementation was delayed because of a lawsuit.

On Tuesday the city presented an environmental impact report and voted to approve the same ordinance with updated enforcement dates. The ordinance allows small businesses that make less than $500,000 a year to receive a 12-month extension to implement the changes.

You can read the full ordinance here.

“Transitions are not easy because it also depends on consumers and only on businesses and consumers tend to be creatures of habit,” Cornelis said.