Leading organizations in the plastics industry have hailed the reversal of a decision to ban polystyrene takeout boxes in Oxford, England, as “a victory for common sense.”
Street vendors in the city — the home of the colleges that make up Oxford University — were told earlier this year that they could only use packaging and utensils that were both biodegradable and recyclable under a new city council policy.
Traders who broke the rules of the council's Street Trading Policy could have faced suspension of their license or even prosecution.
With Oxford's thriving student population, street food vendors often operate into the early hours.
But following a plea made by Martin Kersh, executive director of the Foodservice Packaging Association, the council amended the wording.
Kersh told PRW: “The councilors agreed that the phrasing of the by-law should be altered from biodegradable and recyclable to be biodegradable or recyclable.”
The change would make it “very difficult to enforce a ban on polystyrene,” he said.
Following the council ruling, British Plastics Federation (BPF) director-general Philip Law said: “A victory for common sense and a recognition that plastics packaging products are recyclable, save energy and help reduce the carbon footprint of retailers. The Food Service Packaging Association and Incpen, together with the BPF were active in informing Oxford's local politicians and council staff.”
Oxford Council confirmed to PRW that as PS is recyclable then it can continue to be used.
Oxford council leader Bob Price said: “As a society, we should be relentless in driving down the amount of rubbish we send to landfill and increasing the level of recycling and re-use of materials.
“This change in how street traders operate is a small but significant step in improving the street environment and increasing recycling.
“I am sure that many other local authorities will be taking the same approach as Oxford.”