Starting July 1, 2011, food vendors in unincorporated San Mateo County will be banned from using products made with expanded polystyrene. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors passed the ban on Tuesday, expanding the foam ban currently in effect for county buildings. Environmentally friendly alternatives that are either recyclable or compostable would be used instead.
County staff conducted research and outreach to local businesses prior to passing the ordinance. It's estimated that vendors will have to spend $150 to $400 more each year to comply with the new ordinance. Expanded polystyrene foam is one of the most commonly found items during beach cleanups and does not biodegrade.
According to an article in the Daily Journal, the City of Half Moon Bay may be ready to follow suit with a similar ban. Dozens of other communities throughout the state already have existing bans on polystyrene products.
For more on polystyrene packaging pollution, visit the CAW webpage here.