A group called Plastic Free Future held an informational meeting for aligned environmental organizations and allies to discuss Pacifica’s current ordinance regarding single-use plastics and the new stricter ordinance recently passed by the county.

Pacifica’s current single- use plastics ban includes plastic foam cups and containers and all single-use plastic straws, stirrers and utensils.

Plastic Free Future wants Pacifica to change its ordinance to mirror the new San Mateo County ordinance that covers those items as well as all single-use plastic foodware such as cups, containers and plates. In an email to the Tribune, Plastic Free Future Executive Director Alejandra Warren also noted the county requires businesses to supply single-use plastic utensils and other items only if customers “opt in” for takeout and delivery.

San Mateo is embarking on a countywide effort encouraging cities to adopt its ordinance, and several cities have already done so, she wrote.

“We will be encouraging the city to adopt the county ordinance and to include additional language that requires reuse for onsite dining,” she wrote. “This means that all food and beverages consumed on premises will need to be served using reusable foodware, as in washable, reusable plates, cups and silverware.

“Reusables reduce the amount of trash generated by the business, are safer for human health and the environment, and save businesses money over the longer term,” she wrote. “Most businesses can save thousands of dollars by switching to reusable, even accounting for increased costs for dishwashing. Our neighbors in Daly City and Half Moon Bay have adopted policies encouraging reuse, and cities such as Santa Rosa and Berkeley already require reuse for onsite dining.”

San Mateo County has financial assistance and incentive programs for businesses making the transition to reusable foodware, Warren said.

Plastic Free Future will be drafting a letter of support to be signed by leading environmental organizations in Pacifica that will serve as a starting point to engage City Council on this issue, she wrote.

This version corrects the name of Plastic Free Future in several places.

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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