Jun 22 - Oakland Bans Polystyrene Use For Food Vendors

Chris Metinko of the Contra Costa Times reports that the Oakland City Council voted to ban the use of expanded polystyrene containers in restaurants and other food vendors in the city by next year. The ordinance, which needs to be voted on a second time next week before being officially accepted by the city, would allow for citations of up to $500 for non-compliance and require restaurants to use biodegradable or compostable products in lieu of Styrofoam.

Expect your mashed potatoes and coleslaw from any KFC in Oakland to come in a different, more environmentally friendly container next year.

The Oakland City Council voted early Wednesday morning to ban restaurants and other food vendors from using polystyrene foam -- more commonly known as Styrofoam -- containers in the city by 2007.

The measure, proposed by Councilwoman Jean Quan, also requires all food vendors to use only biodegradable and compostable materials -- as long as such alternatives exist at the same price or less.

The complete article goes on to say the ban is important for Oakland to achieve its waste reduction goals of having only 25 percent of trash go to landfills by 2010, along with minimizing the 15% of polystyrene that ends up in the city's storm drains each year, posing a threat to the city's waterways. CAW is currently sponsoring AB 1940 (Koretz), which would implement a state plan addressing marine debris. Expanded polystyrene and plastics can cause great harm to animals in oceans and other waterways as these materials can take years to break down in the environment.

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