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SLO City May Ban Foam Food Containers

August 28,2014
Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 2.35.22 PMSLO City Council will  hear alternatives to limit or ban POLYSTYRENE FOOD CONTAINERS within the city limits at a September 2 study session. A staff report says in California, over 80 cities and counties have introduced regulations focused on restricting the use of food and drink containers made from EPS, commonly referred to as StyrofoamTM or plastic foam. Some of those agencies have taken the additional step of prohibiting the retail sale of most EPS products within the city.

Food and drink containers made from EPS are also uniquely problematic when they become litter as EPS is a durable material that is not biodegradable. Its foam structure allows it to break easily into small pieces, making it difficult and expensive to remove from the environment. Additionally, these pieces can be harmful to fish and wildlife as it is often mistaken as food and ingested.

According to the California Department of Transportation, EPS comprises approximately 15% of storm drain litter, In addition it is the second most common form of beach debris in California, according to a study conducted in Orange County. Also, several studies approximate that plastic products, including polystyrene, make up 80-90% of floating marine debris.

Some businesses say they want to keep the containers because they cost less than alternatives. Alternatives to EPS clamshell containers ranged from 59% to 73% more expensive.

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