Grand Avenue in Grover Beach, CA offers locals and tourists a wide array of restaurants to choose from. Most of these restaurants are locally owned and use polystyrene food containers.
“We are use them for drink cups and to-go food orders,” said manager Kris Green, of the local restaurant Station Grill. “Pretty frequently throughout the day. We do quite a few to-go orders for sure, especially on weekends.”
However, Station Grill might have to look for new options due to new proposals by Grover Beaches’ City Council.
On July 17th, the City manager of Grover Beach presented a report the City Council on the city’s use of polystyrene foam. The City Council has not made any decisions yet, but this information will help them decide whether they want to put regulations on polystyrene.
Station Grill is just one of the many restaurants that use foam food containers and has been doing so for years. Switching to an alternative product to polystyrene would cause a significant increase in supply costs.
“Businesses we talked to were looking at either doubling the costs of their supplies, some of them was even tripling or even quadrupling the costs of their supplies, so that’s big concern for mom-and-pop business,” said Arroyo Grande/Grover Beach Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Judith Bean.
Bean recently took a survey of all the restaurants in Grover Beach that use foam food takeout containers to see how much of an impact a potential regulation would cause.
Green says that in order to compensate with higher supply costs, they would have to increase prices for their customers.
“We’re on a fine line already,” Green said. “It would up the cost, especially the drinks, sodas and coffee and stuff would go up. We’re talking not just pennies, but quite a few cents to cover the costs of that.”
Bean and Green are also concerned with the quality of alternative food packaging products to foam.
“The quality I don’t think is better,” said Green. “Some places that I’ve gone it leaks out, it deteriorates before you get it home.”
Bean agreed saying, “Paper gets mushy and if you have the type of food that you use separate compartments, you can’t always get that kind of product that’s a recyclable.”
Due to the information Bean has collected, she plans to speak to the City Council.
“The Chamber Board of Directors would like to see City Council hold off on an ordinance right now,” said Bean. “We think it would hurt those very small businesses to have a polystyrene ordinance in place right now.”