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Complying With New Polystyrene Foam and Single Use Plastics Ordinance

What's up with San Diego's new Styrofoam and single use plastics rule?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

San Diego's Polystyrene Foam and Single Use Plastics Ordinance took effect on February 23rd, 2019 in an effort to help San Diego reach its Zero Waste goals and to prevent pollution. The Airport Authority responded by working with our concessions to ensure they understood the new regulation and to assist in any necessary actions. We are proud to say that our concessions now:

  • distribute plastic straws and utensils only in quantities that the passengers need or provide them only at self-serve stations and

  • do not distribute polystyrene (Styrofoam) food service ware like bowls, plates, trays, cups, lids, or takeout containers

While many of our concessions were already practicing green business practices, the ordinance helped to remove a final few Styrofoam products and encourages our concessions to reduce food service ware waste.

By getting rid of Styrofoam, we have removed an environmentally-problematic product from our supply chain and waste stream. Polystyrene foam is one of the most common litter items and can easily break into small pieces causing marine pollution. We even find it during our bi-annual cleanups. Our concessions help reduce polystyrene foam use by finding affordable alternatives to provide to passengers instead.

By giving out single use straws and utensils only by request or at self-service stations, we encourage passengers to take only what they need, and as a result, produce less waste. When possible, our full service restaurants use reusable metal cutlery and food service ware. However, we understand our customers are on the GO and may need single use items. Single use food service ware is available but we encourage passengers to take advantage of our recycling bins located throughout the terminals for things like plastic cups, plates, and bowls once they are done with them. Additionally, some of our concessions opt for more environmentally friendly versions of single use items like post-consumer recycled or compostable products.

To learn more about how our concessions embrace GOing green, visit the Green Concessions Website.


Help yourself at our self serve stations throughout the airport! Those pictured here, are located at Einstein's Bros. Bagels and Pannikin Coffee & Tea in Terminal 2.


For questions regarding SAN's compliance with the City's ordinance, or our sustainability initiatives, please direct your questions to