July 7 - Nation's Capitol Bans Foam Food Containers

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., which is home to roughly 650,000 people and the capital district for the United States, approved a ban on expanded polystyrene (eps) foam food containers last month.

The ban, part of Mayor Gray's Sustainable D.C. Omnibus Act of 2014, was approved on June 24th and final adoption could occur as early as July 14 according to the Washington Post.

Once the ban is official, food service providers in the district would be prohibited from using eps food packaging by January 1, 2016. These providers would have to switch to recyclable or compostable alternatives by 2018.

This isn't the first time D.C. has tackled single-use plastics. An ordinance to place a minimum five cent charge on plastic and paper bags went into effect in 2010, successfully reducing the amount of plastic bags cleaned out of the Anacostia River. An in-house initiative to phase out polystyrene food packaging in Congressional cafeterias was implemented but reversed by Republicans in 2011.

Other major US cities that have taken action to reduce eps food packaging waste and pollution include New York City, San Jose, and San Francisco.

Learn more about the impact of eps pollution.