Santa Clara County, California, officials expected to approve ban on PS food, drink containers this week; measure would apply to county facilities, events and as of July 2012, include food businesses in unincorporated areas

LOS ANGELES , October 25, 2011 () – Bans on polystyrene (PS) food and drink containers will be considered this week by Santa Clara County, California, supervisors and the water board, and they are expected to pass, reported the Mercury News on Oct. 24.

The bans would prohibit the PS containers from county facilities and events and the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s cafeteria. In addition, all local governments would be encouraged to join the effort.

By July 2012, the ban would spread to include about 100 businesses that sell food in unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County, the Mercury News reported.

The bans face resistance from such groups as the California Restaurant Association and the American Chemistry Council (ACC), both of which criticize the effort as being too specific and not effective in solving the litter problem.

“It doesn’t stop people from throwing their trash on the ground,” said Daniel Conway, spokesperson for the restaurant group, which now has six to eight lobbyists fighting the local bans, reported the Mercury News.

Tim Shestek, council lobbyist for the ACC, added that alternatives to PS foam require more energy to manufacture and can cost two to three times more.

More than 50 cities and counties in California have imposed such bans.

PS foam is commonly referred to by the brand name Styrofoam, the Mercury News reported.

Alternatives to Styrofoam are widely available and include sugarcane-based bagasse, wheat straw and fiberboard, said Ken Yeager and Liz Kniss, who are both supervisors in Santa Clara County.

Biodegradable bagasse clamshells used by Coconuts Caribbean Restaurant & Bar in Palo Alto, California, cost more but work better than Styrofoam, said Chef Robert Simpson, who owns the restaurant.

Some smaller restaurants might find the cost too high, but customers in upscale Palo Alto appreciate the new containers, he said, reported the Mercury News.

The primary source of this article is the Mercury News, San Jose, California, on Oct. 24, 2011.

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