SAN RAFAEL, CALIF. (Sept. 25, 1:20 p.m. ET) — San Rafael is set to become the 57th community in California to enact a city-wide ban on expanded polystyrene takeout packaging.
The ban — which is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1, 2013 — requires a second reading and vote which will be held the first Monday in October. It was initially approved at a Sept. 17 City Council meeting by a 3-0 vote with two members absent.
Altogether, there are 52 cities in California with city-wide PS takeout packaging bans, and five counties in California that have PS bans that apply to unincorporated areas of those counties. In addition, 11 cities and counties in California have PS bans that apply only to government facilities and events.
Despite the bans, 91 percent of the population of California still has access to PS takeout packaging, according to a state population analysis of the bans by Dart Corp. Half of the population affected by PS bans are in five cities: San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Hayward and Salinas.
The San Rafael ban applies to all expanded PS containers including plates, bowls, trays, cartons, cups, lids, sacks, clamshells and hinged or lidded containers designed for one-time use. Meat packaging trays, food prepackaged outside of San Rafael, coolers and ice chests made from PS, and single-use straws, utensils and hot cup lids are exempt from the ban.
The city estimates that approximately 250 businesses in the city will be affected by the ban. San Rafael, with a population of approximately 55,000, is 18 miles north of San Francisco.