New plastic regulations take effect in Goleta
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New plastic regulations take effect in Goleta

Jun 21, 2023

A new plastic reduction policy went into effect in Goleta today. It regulates single-use plastic items, Styrofoam and foil balloons.

Dana Murray is the Sustainability Manager for the City of Goleta.

“Under the policy that was adopted, things like single-use plastic utensils will no longer be able to be distributed in the City of Goleta as well as any foodware that’s polystyrene,” she said.

Murray said the new policy requires take-out utensils, straws and stirrers be made of environmentally-friendly materials like paper, wood, or bamboo. Sit-down restaurants must have reusable silverware, and local stores will no longer stock certain items.

She said the City has been in contact with more than 150 businesses to help them comply with the changes.

“Our thrust is going to be education and compliance, friendly reminders to get into compliance, then at some point it will switch to more of a complaint-based enforcement,” Murray said.

Penny Owens from the non-profit Santa Barbara Channelkeeper said plastic spoons, cups and straws are some of the most common items that pollute waterways and litter beaches.

“These convenience items are plastic, and some of them can take up to hundreds of years to decompose,” she said.

In addition to regulating single-use plastic utensils, Owens said Goleta’s policy prohibits styrofoam cups and cartons, and Mylar balloons. She said these types of balloons are often let loose after graduations or other celebrations, then end up in the ocean and don’t biodegrade.

“Goleta has taken the leadership role here and their newest policy going into effect on June 1st does extend a little bit further than Santa Barbara’s or the County’s,” she said.

Eliminating single-use plastic ware from food establishments, and prohibiting the sale of certain products sets Goleta apart from other neighboring cities.

Owens said, ideally, other cities in the county like Santa Barbara and Carpinteria will adopt similar policies to establish a uniform approach in coastal areas.

If you have questions about compliance, go online to Plastic-Free Goleta. Information is available in English and Spanish.