The City of Burlingame and the Burlingame Chamber of Commerce will host two informational meetings this week encouraging the public to learn more about the potential adoption of an ordinance banning the use of Styrofoam by food vendors in the city.
The ordinance would mirror the San Mateo County ordinance banning Styrofoam food service items used by local restaurants, cafes and other food vendors, which goes into effect July 1. Burlingame would put its ordinance in place January 1.
Non-recyclable Styrofoam is often found littered on the streets and breaks down into small pieces, which are harmful if ingested by wildlife. Additionally, the substance contains dangerous chemicals that can seep into the food and liquid it holds, potentially causing cancer.
In place of Styrofoam, vendors can use any biodegradable, recyclable or compostable material, such as aluminum, paper, cardboard and certain plastics.
Vendors found in non-accordance with the ordinance face a fine of $100 for the first offense and up to $500 for the third violation.
According to price comparison documents, more environmentally-safe plates generally cost more than the Styrofoam versions while similar cups cost less.
San Mateo County Director of Environmental Health Services Dean Peterson will be on hand at the meetings to explain what the ban entails and the reasoning behind it.
The meetings take place Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday April 20 at 8:30 a.m. Both will be in the council chambers.