VISTA — Starting Aug. 1 the city will become the latest in California to ban single-use plastics.
The Vista City Council gave final approval for its single-use plastic ordinance during its June 22 meeting, which requires food service providers (restaurants and others) to only distribute plasticware on request.
Businesses with under $1 million in annual gross receipts, though, can apply for a hardship waiver for a maximum of 12 months. Additionally, the city will also ban Styrofoam on July 1, 2023.
Those items banned as of Aug. 1 include single-use plastic stirrers, cutlery, lids, condiment packages, straws and to-go boxes, to name a few.
As for foodservice providers, the city’s definition means any person or establishment providing or selling prepared food or beverages on or off its premises within the city. These include restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, drive-thrus, grocery and convenience stores, or farmers’ markets, according to the staff report.
Also, the plastic and Styrofoam ban is another way for the city to address its Climate Action Plan and climate goals, said Andrea McCollough, the city’s communications officer. She said the council is setting citywide waste reduction and recycling goals with a target of 85% waste diversion by 2030.
Another bonus is the reduction of litter and an increase in city beautification, she said. Single-use plastics are the most commonly collected items for beach and watershed cleanups, she said, citing a 2019 ICC report.
“The reduction of single-use plastics will assist in reducing waste that is left on roads, public spaces, and discarded by persons who do not use trash receptacles,” McCollough added. “In Vista, indirect costs include: letter discourages visitors, impacts business development, and where there is litter, results in lower property values, people are more likely to litter (source Keep America Beautiful), as well as Caltrans cleanup costs along on-off ramps and easements.”
Additionally, the Vista Chamber of Commerce has shown interest in engaging with the city for a public awareness campaign, the report said. The chamber would target the business community to help assist with the city’s new ordinance.
According to the staff report, Vista anticipates a significant amount of outreach and education to both residents and businesses will be required prior to implementing the Styrofoam ban with prepared food. As such, Vista and the chamber appear they will engage with businesses in a yearlong, widespread outreach campaign.
“Staff will collaborate with the chamber, city communications office, and other partners to develop a campaign to educate the community regarding the addition of the ordinance to the Vista Municipal Code,” McCollough said.
As for penalties, violators can face a range of punishment including citations, infractions or misdemeanor charges. They can be fined, with each subsequent fine increasing or possible jail time for a misdemeanor conviction.