San Jose will become one of the largest cities in the US to ban plastic foam food containers when a law the City Council passed on Aug 27th, which will take effect next year.
The council voted 9-2 to approve an ordinance that would ban the foam containers starting in Jan for large multistate restaurant chains and extend to small neighborhood eateries and other businesses a year later.
The plastic foam– technically expanded polystyrene, or EPS– is popularly known as Styrofoam. However, Dow Chemical Co., which trademarked that name, says it doesn’t manufacture food containers.
San Jose is one of the largest among dozens of cities and counties including 70 in California that have approved bans and restrictions on the foam containers, which environmentalists say become more persistent and pervasive pollutants that harm wildlife than other packaging material that breaks down more easily.
Laws approved elsewhere range from limited restrictions such as Los Angeles County’s applying to government facilities to full retail bans like those in Los Altos Hills, Fremont, Oakland, San Francisco and now San Jose.
Critics argued the foam material can be recycled and is collected in some 65 California communities. But city officials said the collected material often ends up in landfills because there’s little market for the used and soiled plastic foam. City officials said as more cities ban plastic foam, costs for environmentally friendlier alternatives will drop.