Bans and initiatives to eliminate polystyrene takeout food packaging on the West Coast continue to grow.
Officials in the town of Issaquah, Wash., population 11,000, some 17 miles east of Seattle, on Oct. 1 approved a ban on PS takeout packaging.
Town leaders said that food service providers should immediately begin to make reasonable efforts to purchase recyclable or compostable packaging instead of PS packaging.
Pre-packaged soups and pre-packaged foods that grocery stores, restaurants and food vendors purchase and resell to customers are exempt from the ban, which was enacted Nov. 16.
In California, the town of Del Ray Oaks, population 1,650, near Monterey, is expected to approve a PS ban when the ordinance is read and heard for the second time Dec. 15.
The ban would go into effect 30 days after its approval.
On a larger scale, Monterey County, Calif., which issued a study and a draft proposal for a PS ban earlier this month, will hold three public hearings in December on its proposal, and plans to approve the ban early in 2010, with an effective date one year later.
The Monterey County ban would apply to approximately 170 restaurants, grocery stores and food vendors that operate within the unincorporated areas of the county.
There are an estimated 2,200 restaurants, grocers and food vendors in all of Monterey County, with PS bans already in effect in the communities of Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel.
Altogether, 26 California towns and two counties have banned PS takeout packaging, most of them in northern California from the Monterey area to just north of San Francisco.
The bans continue to grow because lawmakers view PS takeout packaging as a litter and landfill problem, and because PS takeout packaging manufacturers, the industry and restaurants have developed very few programs to recycle PS.
There are currently no meaningful ways of recycling PS-based food packaging, said the Issaquah City Council in its summary statement that recommended the adoption of the community's ban.
The Del Ray Oaks council made a similar assertion when it approved its ban.
In addition, California legislators have negative views of PS food service products, even after they receive feedback from packaging manufacturers, grocers, restaurants and industry associations.
The Issaquah ban applies to PS containers, clamshells, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, cups, lids, straws, utensils and any other items used in the food service business, including containers for leftovers.
But it won't apply to lids, containers, knives, forks and spoons used for hot foods and beverages until May 1, 2011.
The proposed Del Ray Oaks ban would not apply to single-use plastic straws, cup lids and utensils.
It does not have an exemption for hot foods and hot beverage containers, lids and utensils.
But, like the city of Issaquah, Del Ray Oaks will permit food service operators to sell pre-packaged food that food service operators buy and resell to customers.
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