Styrofoam food containers banned at county facilities | May 7, 2008 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - May 7, 2008

Styrofoam food containers banned at county facilities

Starting July 1, Styrofoam food containers are out — at least in food facilities operated by San Mateo County, or on land owned or leased by the county.

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.


Posted by Greenie, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on May 6, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Hurrah for the supervisors. When is Menlo Park going to ban this nasty stuff?

Posted by Wondering, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 7, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Does anyone know if Menlo Park's Green Ribbon Committee is addressing this issue at all? It's a logical area to address, given all the waste to landfill that styrofoam and other nonrecycleable food containers and utensils generate.