Skip to comments.Foam Food Container Ban Proposed in California
Posted on 11/25/2008 1:07:27 AM PST by CE2949BB
OAKLAND, Calif. -- A proposed strategy for reducing ocean litter calls for a statewide ban on foam food containers, fees for using plastic and paper bags, and making producers responsible for the collection and disposal of packaging.
The California Ocean Protection Council announced its plans (PDF [319KB]) earlier this month and voted on actions for preventing and reducing waste that could end up in the ocean.
The state council also aims to change producer and consumer behavior with its three recommendations for reducing packaging waste: adopting extended producer responsibility, prohibiting certain items and charging fees for items that commonly become litter.
The concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) makes producers physically and/or financially responsible for the collection and disposal of the items they make. The council points to the 33 countries in which EPR programs operate, noting that in the first four years of Germany's EPR program, packaging waste dropped 14 percent. Such programs encourage material reduction, lightweighting, switching to recyclable materials and the redesign of products and packages.
The council has also proposed a statewide ban on polystyrene take-out food containers and a fee for single-use plastic and paper grocery bags. San Francisco and six California counties have so far banned the use of polystyrene (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) food containers, and prohibitions on them exist in about another dozen cities.
San Francisco also prohibits the use of single-use plastic bags. The state council would first like to see a fee put in place in order to encourage the use of reusable bags. If that doesn't lead to less litter, the council feels other actions, including a ban, should be explored.
Retailers have implemented various bag strategies on their own, like Whole Foods Market cutting out plastic bags entirely, Marks & Spencer charging for plastic bags and IKEA charging for, and then getting rid of, plastic bags.
Lastly, the council recommends fees for items that lead to litter, but are not suitable for EPR or bans, such as cigarettes, the most common trash on beaches, according to the council.
Some of the council's plans are being opposed by a coalition of manufacturers and industry groups, including polystyrene makers and the American Chemistry Council. They are arguing against the proposed foam food container ban, saying that polystyrene is recyclable and that banning one of its uses would eliminate jobs in the state. The opposition is encouraging an expansion of recycling systems instead of a ban.
Although polystyrene, which carries the number 6 plastic symbol, is recyclable, the infrastructure for collecting and handing it is not as extensive as that for other types of plastic. In California, Los Angeles' recycling system takes it, but San Francisco does not. Some private recycling companies accept it, though some charge a fee for picking it up or for people to drop it off.
Plastic bags are also recyclable, but the council points out that fewer than 5 percent of the 19 billion grocery bags used in California each year get recycled.
One alternative to foam food containers is compostable materials, but those, too, requires the proper waste stream, like San Francisco's composting program, to effectively handle them.
The state council hopes its recommendations will guide future legislation and state policies. The council has focused its actions on reducing waste and litter at its source - producers and consumers - in order to prevent the creation of litter in the first place, and prevent the need for extensive cleanup efforts.
Nanny State Alert.
The ban has been in place in San Francisco for several years. It’s played hell with Chinese and Mexican takeout businesses but I can’t see how it’s helped the litter problem. Paper containers affect the flavor of the food and plastic containers don’t keep food warm. It is a good excuse to eat out and not bring your lunch back to the office though.
A couple of decades ago it was foam containers. Flouride in the plastic, or some such.
Being a good steward of the environment, McDonalds switched from styrofoam to paper.
The greenies hollarred to high heaven about the trees cut down for the paper.
Maybe California should ban business altogether. Or, how about banning the use of dishes in restaurants? Just have them plop the food right on the table, and people can eat it like dogs.
Saves all that precious water from automatic dishwashers flowing into the waste water system.
When I was a kid...we wrapped garbage in old newspapers. Everything went into an aluminum can for rubbish pickup. Everything was burnt in an incinerator.
When plastic came along...it caused fires at the incinerator.
Plastic is a disgusting commodity and I believe most of it is a petroleum product....Hint, hint.
Those of us who remember, the excuse they gave for switching to plastic bags from brown paper grocery bags was that it would save the trees. Now they want us to switch back again. This is what happens when you have junk science.
It most certainly is NOT!
Nothing helps start the woodstove up better than a bunch of plastic grocery bags. They melt into a puddle on the wood and keeps burning until the wood catches on fire.
Wouldn't want to have a fire in the INCINERATOR now would we....
plastics is a disgusting Capitalist commodity tha cost .20 what i can sel for $50 BWAHAHAHAHA and then bail me out if broke from fascist plots to offshore my STOLEN moneys from slave labor
(Anyone seen a communistfighter around here anywhere?)
One of my customers makes those foam containers.
Much of the product is made from recycled material.
California “environmentalists” are full of sh!t.
“Plastic is a disgusting commodity and I believe most of it is a petroleum product....”
The biggest trash item in California that you see littering the streets and gutters is without a doubt, lottery scratcher tickets. I am assuming that these are the vast number of losing tickets that are being discarded. I guess we should not expect the state government to increase the percentage of winning tickets.
Its time for me to start marketing hemp ditty bags.
These chumps need to quit smokin this Styrofoam when they're too broke to buy pot!
They even tried to push Hemp bags here in tiny town Tx!
and in NY, used plastic METRO cards.
I am sure a gubmint study is underway.
There is really no good excuse for banning plastic containers, foam or otherwise. There is also no good reason to sort your trash. The technology to accept all the trash and mechanically sort it has been around for years. The problem is that the initial investment is not cheap, but it is self supporting and even profitable when properly done.
Processes for sorting metals, and plastics and glass from the compostables (paper, wood, garbage) are available. But then there would be no cause to get behind for the environmentalists (socialists).
Let’s get this right - this is not nanny-statism, it’s fascism.
Any time government dictates to business what must be produced for the common good, as determined by the state, that’s fascism.
Both Hitler and Mussolini, through dictates carried out by bureaucratic functionairies, told private businesses how and what to produce. Both allowed private property but insisted on de facto government control of that property.
California is not a nanny state. California is a fascist state.
Idiots, it takes MORE energy to make paper containers than it does foam containers.
Penn and Teller have a funny video about why sorting trash is a useless waste of time (except for aluminum cans, no other trash stream pays for itself).