By Steven Tavares
|If approved, the ban on polystyrene|
containers at Hayward restaurants
would begin July 2011.
The ordinance would force restaurant within Hayward to switch to more expensive recyclable and biodegradable service products. A city staff report estimates most small to medium-sized restaurants may incur between $150-$250 in monthly costs associated with the proposed ordinance. Environmentally-friendly products typically costs 2-4 percent more than polystyrene versions, according to a city survey.
Concerns over the city costs of cleaning litter from its streets and unsustainable stress on landfills to handle to slowly degrading cups and plates led to the proposed ordinance.
Although, the ordinance would end the use of polystyrene by restaurants, it would not ban it outright. The sale of the containers at retail outlets in Hayward would continue. Foods packaged with polystyrene outside of city limits, but sold in Hayward would also be exempt.
The California Restaurant Association opposes the ban saying it does little to temper litter and hurts restaurants owners. The Hayward Chamber of Commerce recently asked the city to delay implementation of the ordinance citing the state of the economy. A timeline created by city staff says the ban on polystyrene could begin by July 2011.
Neighboring cities that have approved ordinances against polystyrene containers include Oakland, Fremont, Richmond, Palo Alto and San Francisco.
The city council will also deal with the continued city-wide use of food sellers relying on hand cart to sell their products. Hayward currently prohibits the use of movable carts pushed by hand as opposed to stationary carts and catering trucks, which are allowed with a permit, but a push to make them legal could be underway.
According to the city, the low-priority of enforcing the ban by police has allowed the number of illegal push carts to increase. Many low-income and undocumented workers gravitate towards the use of push carts, according to the staff report, but they do not necessarily own the business.
The proposal would call for prospective push cart owners to obtain a permit and adhere to certain health standards before selling their perishable goods. A buffer zone around city schools could also be enacted.