San Francisco Unanimously Passes Strictest Polystyrene Ban in US

Connector Summer 2016

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed legislation that will completely ban the sale of expanded polystyrene (EPS) in the city – creating the most extensive ban in the country. This includes food packaging, fish and meat trays, coffee cups, beach toys, dock floats, and mooring buoys. Some exemptions to the ban are listed here.

Noncompliant companies will face fines ranging from $100 for the first violation to $500 for the third and each violation that follows. The ban will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017 for most products, but delayed until July 1, 2017 for fish and meat trays.

This ban is an extension of the city’s already existent ban on EPS food packaging which went into effect in 2007. By cracking down even harder on the use of the material, the city hopes to set an example that will eventually ban the product statewide.

Some groups have threatened to take legal action against the city. Betsy Steiner, spokeswoman for EPS Alliance in Maryland, said to NBC, “I’m appalled … We’re opposed to the plan. There are serious errors in their statistical representation.” Steiner claims that the city did not take any data from opposing groups into consideration when passing the legislation.

The debate over the recyclability of EPS is not new and has been highly debated in cities and states nationwide. Recently in New York City, a ban on EPS was put in place then later overturned by a judge who called the ban “arbitrary and capricious,” requesting that the city find ways to recycle the material.

In San Francisco, however, it looks as though leaders are standing firm in their decision to keep EPS out of waste streams. “This ordinance is one of the strongest in the country protecting both the environment and public health,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, spokesperson for San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, to NBC. “The ordinance is a good model for other local governments to follow.”

Source: Waste Dive