Saturday, June 28, 2008

Goodbye To You, Styrofoam

Living in NYC, many of us get take-out frequently, aside from an abundance of packaging, most of which cannot be recycled, the worst offender by far is styrofoam. There are roughly 100 cities across the U.S. that have adopted a ban or strict regulations on Styrofoam or polystyrene food packaging. Most cities with the ban require restaurants, food service providers, vendors, supermarkets as well as city government buildings to use biodegradable food containers as an alternative.

Until this happens here in NY, encourage restaurants to steer clear of styrofoam and use alternative packaging - even considering composatble packaging which customers have the option to pay a surcharge for. Worth it.

A main factor in banning the #6 plastic for use in to go food containers is that it has become a huge problem in polluting the world’s waterways. It is also a major component in unsightly litter that California claims to be responsible for 15 percent of the litter collected from storm drains.
Monetary penalties are usually imposed upon businesses who do not comply with the ordinance. While most cities with these bans in place are found along the west coast, its appeal to the greening of the consumer conscience is catching on throughout the country. There is even legislature being debated on the state level in New York called the Food Service Waste Reduction Act whose goal is to find suitable, affordable, environmentally friendly alternatives that are compostable or recyclable and within 15 percent of the cost of non-compostable or non-recyclable products currently in use. The bans have the potential to reduce millions of pounds of polystyrene waste.

Berkeley, CA
The City of Berkeley was one of the first communities to adopt a food packaging ordinance.Type: Expanded Polystyrene Ban; Requirement that 50 percent, by volume, of takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.Date: Enacted 1988.

Oakland, CA
Type: Expanded Polystyrene Ban; Requirement that all takeout food packaging be compostable; Contains affordability clause.Date: Effective June, 2006.

San Francisco, CA
Type: Expanded Polystyrene Ban; Requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable/compostable; Contains affordability clause.Date: Effective June, 2007.

Freeport, Maine
The Town of Freeport was one of the first U.S. municipalities to ban polystyrene packaging.Type: The Town prohibits the sale or use of foamed polystyrene food packaging.

Portland, Oregon
Type: The City of Portland prohibits food vendors from using polystyrene as prepared food packaging.

Suffolk County, New York
Suffolk County enacted one of the nation’s first polystyrene ordinances, and was targeted by the plastics industry with a lawsuit attempting to repeal the ordinance.Type: Restaurants in Suffolk County are prohibited from using foamed polystyrene or PVC food packaging or utensils.

Seattle, WA
Seattle proposed a ban on the use of expanded polystyrene containers and cups in all restaurants.Type: The ban applies to all food service businesses and includes some of the EPS packaging used in grocery stores such as meat and vegetable display traysDate: The ban begins Jan. 1, 2009.

Source: Earth911