Dana Point moves toward banning food vendors from selling products in plastic foam

by in News

Sidewalk vendors may soon be banned from selling any food or beverages in plastic foam while in Dana Point.

The City Council looked this week at closing a loophole in city laws prohibiting plastic foam use that allows food vendors to bring in items in plastic foam containers if they were pre-package outside the city.

Council members on Tuesday, May 7, were all for extending the ban to sidewalk vendors coming into town; the city attorney was asked to tweak a minor detail and the council will vote again on May 21.

Dana Point would be second after Laguna Beach to explicitly prohibit the use of plastic foam containers by sidewalk vendors or anyone bringing in food or beverages to sell. Laguna Beach included food vendors in its citywide plastic foam ban in 2007.

The prohibitions will be included in the street food vending permits issued by the city.

Dana Point is adopting new regulations and permits for street vendors following recent changes in state law. Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach have also been adopting new rules. The plastic foam loophole came up during the discussion, City Attorney Patrick Munoz said.

Hoiyin Ip, who organizes beach cleanups, alerted the council of the loophole. She has been speaking on behalf of the Sierra Club in other cities – including Newport Beach and Laguna Beach – as each addressed its sidewalk vendor ordinance earlier this year.

“They all came out with a sidewalk vendor law, but didn’t address Styrofoam or single-use plastics,” Ip said. “Sidewalk vending law does not address the plastic trash. All four cities only say vendors need to carry their own trash out, but it doesn’t prevent them from carrying it in. Food is prepared outside the city and they bring it in.”

Ip said she was heartened by Dana Point’s response and hopes it can be expanded to include egg cartons and plastic foam disposable coolers.

“I still hope to squeeze in no Styrofoam on beaches and parks,” she said.

If Dana Point were to go that far, the beach town would be the first among coastal communities to do so.