San Jose will soon join about 60 other cities and counties in California in restricting the use of polystyrene foam food containers at restaurants throughout the city. According to CBS SF Bay Area, the move was made at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26, when council members voted 9-2 to move forward with a plan to phase out the use of polystyrene containers possibly as early as next year.
The plan was approved despite the attempts by Plastics Industry representatives to sell recycling as a viable alternative to a ban. Final approval of the ordinance won’t take place until after an Environmental Impact Report has been prepared. San Jose already has an ordinance in place banning the use of polystyrene at special events at government facilities.
Polystyrene foam food containers are one of the most common forms of marine pollution and are impractical to recycle due to their light weight and contamination issues. Additionally, it's not a cost effective process--the market value of a bale of recycled eps is lower than the amount of money it takes a recycler to process and bale eps for recycling.
Once littered, polystyrene breaks down into small pieces that are easily ingested by wildlife. It also impacts storm drains, costing local governments millions in clean up costs.
See a list of other California Communities that have banned or restricted the use of polystyrene foam.