On Tuesday, October 22, the Sunnyvale City Council unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance to ban foamed polystyrene food containers. Once adopted at a subsequent meeting, it goes into effect in restaurants and other food establishments on Earth Day 2014, and would prohibit retail sale of foamed foodware in stores by the following Earth Day, April 22, 2015.
According to media, the City has been studying the issue of polystyrene foam for three years, and in December of 2012, the Council approved (by a vote of 7-0) initial work on an ordinance.
Supporters at the hearing noted the impacts of foam pollution, including the difficulties and costs of cleanup and the detrimental effects of this non-degradable problem product to marine life and the environment.
Vice Mayor Jim Griffith called polystyrene foam foodware "a bad actor in the environment" that needed to be addressed not only for water quality issues but also because it was not recyclable due to food contamination issues.
We congratulate the city for its environmental leadership. Dozens of local governments have passed an ordinance to reduce foam polystyrene litter in government facilities and/or restaurants, and only a handful have taken action in retail stores.
Learn more about issues with expanded polystyrene foam foodware.