Avalon contemplates ban on plastic straws

            Avalon’s City Council members discussed the prospects of banning plastic straws and Mylar balloons at its July 19 meeting.

Avalon banned the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam) products at establishments with food preparation in 2017. The city could expand the Styrofoam ban with its initiative to prohibit plastic straws and Mylar balloons.

“The purpose of the [Styrofoam ban] ordinance was to protect the natural environment from non-biodegradable litter, reduce solid waste and promote public health,” Avalon city staff stated in a report to council members. “Polystyrene and plastics have not been around long enough to know exactly how long they take to breakdown; however, some estimates state they may take up to 500 years if they are able to break down at all.”

Avalon’s landfill, meanwhile, has been at capacity for at least 11 years, according to a topographical study performed in November 2016.

“Expanding the list of banned products can improve the local and regional environment,” city staff said in its report to council members. “Other cities have taken action to ban straws and Styrofoam projects.”

Council members are expected to revisit the issues again in August. One of the issues Avalon will iron out: whether the city should be the first to ban Mylar balloons. The city, alternatively, could recruit other cities to join them in banning the non-latex balloon in order to being first in line on the ban (and, hence, opening Avalon up to potential lawsuits).

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