Contra Costa County is Proposing to Ban Styrofoam
Why is the County Banning Polystyrene (Styrofoam) and Where does the Ban Apply?
Polystyrene production uses hydrofluorocarbons, identified as a contributor to the hole in the ozone layer
Polystyrene is not biodegradable, is not recyclable (economically), and breaks into micro-pieces in the environment
Styrene, the main component of polystyrene, has been classified as a possible human carcinogen
Polystyrene chemicals can leach into food stored in polystyrene containers
The Polystyrene ban only applies outside city limits in unincorporated communities
What are the County Objectives in Adopting a Polystyrene Ban?
Adopt a ban that is consistent with most of the surrounding city bans
Follow an adoption process that maximizes outreach to stakeholders and parties of interest
Reduce trash and solid waste, increase recyclables, improve water quality, and protect the environment
What is Included in the Proposed Ban on Polystyrene?
Polystyrene food and beverage containers would be banned
A six-month grace period would be included, allowing business to exhaust existing supplies
Compostable containers would not be required
Replacement food and beverage containers would have to be recyclable
County Departments would be precluded from using polystyrene food or beverage containers
Prepared foods packaged outside the County would be exempt
Where do I send Comments on the Polystyrene Ban?
If you have comments email Cece Sellgren or call at 925-313-2296.
Discussion: Of the 19 cities and towns in Contra Costa County, ten have adopted a polystyrene ban, the earliest in 1993. All ordinances ban the use of polystyrene food containers, while three ban the use of other polystyrene products like packing peanuts, packaging materials, and ice chests. To be consistent with most of the surrounding cities, the County is only banning food and beverage containers in unincorporated communities. The County is required to reduce trash in its waterways. In the environment, polystyrene containers break down into smaller and smaller pieces, creating more trash than alternative food and beverage containers.