The action against foam food containers, or expanded polystyrene containers, was seen as a victory for environmental groups but was protested by manufacturers who warned it could cost local jobs.
The vote came as officials study a far more sweeping ban of the material. The supervisors have asked for more information about possibly banning the containers – essentially plastic that is puffed up into a white, solid foam – in private restaurants and retail establishments in unincorporated areas of the county, over which they have jurisdiction.
“We are hoping to provide leadership. This is a large county taking a very bold step,” Supervisor Gloria Molina said.
Foam food containers and cups have long been a target of environmental groups. The material does not easily degrade, can last hundreds of years, and can be eaten by birds and sea mammals, causing their deaths, according to the environmental group Heal the Bay, based in Santa Monica.