Under an ordinance adopted by the Board of Supervisors on April 22, even vendors at the Coyote Point Museum and the San Mateo County Event Center will have to put their takeout orders in containers that are biodegradable, compostable, re-usable, or recyclable
The reason: Polystyrene, which often appears in foam under the trademark Styrofoam, has become a major environmental pollutant, according to Supervisor Adrienne Tissier, who introduced the proposed ordinance in February. It doesn't degrade, can't be recycled, and usually isn't re-usable.
Polystyrene is "very difficult, very expensive" to recycle, said Bill Chiang, Ms. Tissier's aide. He noted that polystyrene also appears in clear plastic food containers stamped with a triangle around a number 6.
"The county should lead the way in the protection of the natural environment, the economy, and the health of its citizens," said Supervisor Tissier, who presented the ordinance for adoption on Earth Day.
If the Styrofoam ban is successful in county-owned or leased facilities, the board may extend it. In that case, "I would recommend considering an ordinance that would apply to food service providers located in the county's unincorporated areas," Supervisor Tissier said.