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Environment and Energy

Nearly all SLO restaurants getting on board with polystyrene ban

Aidan Mathews

A ban on polystyrene—known by many as the brand name "Styrofoam"—is set to go into effect soon in the City of San Luis Obispo.

"I mean I have mixed feelings, quite frankly, about it—only because there's no clear alternative to it that does the job properly," said Scott Sweeny, owner of Louisa's Place on Higuera Street.

Sweeny said he has his doubts about the ban's cost-effectiveness.

"For the boxes -- which is the primary concern -- we've gone to a sugar fiber I guess it is, but it's at double the cost," he said.

While he's not a fan of the higher price tag, Sweeny said it is not the cost that is most important to him:

"For me, that's not what it is. It's more of the quality of the food that's going to come from that box," he said.

Businesses could take a one-time, year-long exemption, but nearly all have not, including Splash Cafe.

"We use paper that is biodegradable. It is 90 days in the ground biodegradable," said Brett Collins, General Manager of Splash Cafe in downtown SLO. He said the restaurant chose to drop Styrofoam products long before the ban was approved.

"Yeah it seems—especially in San Luis Obispo—our customers tend to be a little more environmentally friendly and conscious," said Collins.

Margie's Diner is the only business to apply for the one-time exemption, and says the quality of the food remains their focus.

Management of the diner declined to be interviewed for this story.

The polystyrene ban will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.