City of Santa Cruz, California, to consider expanding PS foam ban to include prepackaged items like plates, bowls, cups, toys, ice chests, packing materials; would be broadest PS ban to date, says Californians Against Waste

LOS ANGELES , March 22, 2012 () –

The City of Santa Cruz in California would expand its polystyrene (PS) foam ban for takeout containers to a range of other products under a new proposal that would affect a variety of businesses in the city, reported the San Jose Mercury News on March 21.

On March 19, the city’s Transportation and Public Works Commission voted to recommend the measure to the Santa Cruz City Council.

The City Council could consider it as soon as June, after retailers are informed about the new rules, said Mary Arman, operations manager for the city’s Public Works Dept.

The proposal would extend the ban on foam food cartons that Santa Cruz adopted in 2008 to more foam products, including prepackaged items like plates, bowls, drinking cups and toys, as well as ice chests and packing peanuts, the Mercury News reported.

It would affect a variety of businesses, such as wholesalers, convenience stores, supermarkets and smaller retailers like bait-and-tackle shops. Exemptions would be allowed for some construction products or foam products encased in sturdier materials.

If adopted, it would be the broadest ban of PS foam products so far, according to Californians Against Waste, a Sacramento-based watchdog group that supports PS foam bans, reported the Mercury News.

Safeway Inc., which operates two stores within the city’s limits, will study the proposed ordinance “to see if we can live with this” and if alternative products could be offered, said Susan Houghton, a spokesperson for the supermarket chain.

Mail Boxes Etc., a franchisor for UPS Store locations and a user of PS peanuts for packing, is concerned about protecting the products it ships, according to Brandon Olson, a company spokesperson, the Mercury News reported.

The ordinance allows businesses a one-year exemption if they can prove that the ban would be a hardship.

Violators of the ordinance would receive a warning at first and then begin receiving fines after 30 days, starting at US$100 and escalating with subsequent violations, reported the Mercury News.

The primary source of this article is the Mercury News, San Jose, California, on March 21, 2012.


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