San Francisco to ban styrofoam use
by food vendors
By Angela Hokanson, Bay City News Service
June 27, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco Board of Supervisors
President Aaron Peskin today introduced legislation at the board
of supervisors meeting that would ban plastic foam materials --
commonly known as Styrofoam -- from being used as disposable food
containers by city departments, as well as restaurants and food
vendors within the city.
The ordinance would add a section to the city's environment code
prohibiting the use of polystyrene foam for disposable food containers
such as cups, trays, bowls, and cartons. Polystyrene foam is known
to have harmful environmental effects and possibly dangerous health
effects as well, according to the legislation.
Polystyrene foam "is a notorious pollutant that breaks down
into smaller, non-biodegradable pieces that are ingested by marine
life and other wildlife thus harming or killing them," the
legislation reads. There is also no easy way to recycle polystyrene
foam, according to the legislation.
Styrene, a component of polystyrene, is also a suspected carcinogen,
the ordinance states.
The ban would apply to city departments and contractors and lessees
of the city, as well as restaurants and retail food vendors located
within the city.
These establishments would be required to use disposable food
service products and utensils that are made from more biodegradable
and compostable materials, unless no such affordable materials
The city administrator would compile and maintain a list of permissible
alternative materials to substitute for plastic foam materials.
Peskin thanked the members of the Oakland City Council, who recently
passed a similar ban on plastic foam materials, for their initiative
on the issue. The city of Berkeley has had a similar ban on polystyrene
foam in place since 1990, according to Peskin's proposed ordinance.
San Francisco's legislation on the topic is "long overdue,"
If the legislation passes, the ban would go into effect on the
first day of January in 2007.
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